Gum disease encompasses a wide range of possible issues with gum tissues, from mild inflammation, called gingivitis, to severe loss of gum, ligament and bone structure, called periodontitis. Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene, but periodontitis leaves lasting effects. It is important to catch gum disease in its earliest stages before it can progress. Make sure you visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
The start of any issues with the gums is usually a build-up of bacteria in the mouth due to inadequate brushing and flossing. Over time, bacteria will accumulate on the teeth and gums that must be cleaned away. A combination of adequate home care (brushing, flossing, etc.) and regular professional dental cleanings is the best way to combat bacteria build-up and keep the gums and teeth healthy. Sometimes medical conditions and medications can contribute to gum inflammation, such as pregnancy. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums. When gingivitis is left untreated, it progresses into periodontitis, which is an inflammation of the bone, ligament and supporting structures of the teeth. Symptoms of gingivitis are red, puffy gums, bleeding gums and gums that may be sore or tender with brushing and flossing. Symptoms of periodontitis include symptoms of gingivitis. Additional symptoms include bad breath, deep gum pockets, recession and even loose or missing teeth.
Gum disease is highly preventable with a proper oral hygiene regimen at home as well as regular professional dental cleanings. It is recommended to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Professional dental cleanings are recommended every 3-6 months, depending on need. Frequent dental cleanings are recommended when gums and teeth are healthy, and 3-4 month cleanings are recommended when there is some form of gum disease, past or present.