Gum disease is extremely common in the United States, with half of adults 30 and older dealing with some form of it. However common it may be, this disease is very treatable and preventable if you have the proper understanding. Dr. Neelima Ravi, dentists at Oceanside Family Dental in Hampton, NH, want to educate their patients about gum disease and the best ways to treat it.
What is gum disease?
Your teeth aren't the only structures in your mouth affected by bacteria. Your gums are also subject to problems associated with the buildup of bacterial colonies, which form a clear and sticky film called plaque. If plaque is left to harden - a process that only takes about 24 hours - it becomes tartar. This bacteria-filled material adheres itself to the teeth and begins wearing away the gum tissue. Gum disease is progressive; in its milder form, it's known as gingivitis. The more advanced gum disease seen by your Hampton dentist is called periodontitis.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Gum disease, whether mild or severe, can only be officially diagnosed by your Hampton dentist. However, there are some telltale signs and symptoms that might give you some indication about the presence of early gum disease. Often the first sign happens when you brush your teeth; one or more areas of your gums may bleed during your regular brushing or flossing routine. Your gums may or may not be tender and swollen as well. Some people also notice they've developed persistent bad breath; this is due to bacteria collecting under the gum line.
More advanced gum disease (periodontitis) brings with it gum recession, spaces developing between the teeth, discoloration of the gums and tooth loss.
How can gum disease be treated?
There are a variety of ways your Hampton dentist can treat gum disease. Many patients with gingivitis see results with a change in brushing, flossing and rinsing habits. Medicated mouthwashes are particularly helpful at introducing oxygen to the area and fighting the bacterial buildup. You may also receive a treatment called scaling and root planing at Oceanside Family Dental that involves one of our dental hygienists removing the tartar using specialized handheld tools. Medications to fight the bacteria or suppress its development may also be used.
If you think your gums may need some treatment, don't delay - contact Oceanside Family Dental in Hampton, NH today to set up an appointment!