Caring for Your Gums

There is so much emphasis placed on maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle today, but millions of Americans neglect their oral hygiene and avoid visiting the dentist's office for a routine checkup. Gum disease is among the most common oral health conditions with detrimental effects if left untreated. But with proper gum care and frequent dental checkups, you can achieve healthy gums that can last a lifetime.

Dental specialists recommend maintaining regular appointments every six months for a cleaning and x-rays, and to allow for early detection of things like loose teeth, inflamed gums, and gum disease. 

In this Great Lakes Dental blog, we will take a look at gum disease: what it is, how it’s diagnosed, how it’s treated, and perhaps most importantly, how you can prevent it. 

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is one of the most common oral health issues diagnosed by dentists to date. However, many still do not understand this problematic disease. Gum disease comes in many forms and severities, ranging from gingivitis to full-blown periodontitis — a condition that is much more difficult to treat. Healthy gums are crucial as proper oral hygiene does not only protect your mouth, they help to prevent harmful complications, like a weakened immune system.

Things like your current diet, daily habits, and lifestyle choices can lead to a buildup of plaque and other harmful bacteria within the mouth, leading to an increased risk of gum disease.

What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Gingivitis is classified as inflammation of the gums. It is most commonly caused by a buildup of food particles that become trapped between the teeth and gums — often as the result of improper brushing and flossing techniques. 

Similar to gingivitis, periodontitis is a type of gum disease that is much more difficult to treat and leads to damage to the gums as well as the jawbone. In addition, gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by plaque buildup. Plaque creates bacteria in the mouth that can destroy enamel and lead to tooth decay.

Gum disease symptoms are similar in that both gingivitis and periodontitis cause swollen, red, painful, and receding gums, as well as bleeding from the gums. Periodontitis often leads to halitosis (bad breath) and loose teeth, and can be a precursor for heart and lung disease.

How is gum disease diagnosed?

The only true way to determine if you are suffering from gum disease is to consult a licensed dentist for a thorough examination including x-rays and a visual examination. Your dentist will examine you for loose teeth, receding gum lines, and excessive bleeding upon manipulation. 

How is Gum Disease Treated?

Treating gum disease depends on the severity of the condition, as well as the type of gum disease diagnosed. Early intervention is crucial in preventing irreversible damage to your gums, teeth, and jawbone, which is why bi-annual visits to the dentist are highly recommended.

Getting your teeth cleaned at Great Lakes Dental at least every six months is essential to having healthy gums. Should you be diagnosed with periodontal disease, you may need a root planing and scaling procedure where your dental specialist removes plaque and tartar below the gumline.

How is Gum Disease Prevented?

Have you ever wondered if you can prevent gum disease? In short, yes! Gum disease is a very common, yet preventable oral health condition. Experts recommend following the same oral hygiene process daily, including:

Brush and floss daily

Experts recommend that you brush your teeth and floss at least two times per day (morning and night). You can also brush and floss after every meal to remove food build-up between the teeth and gums to help prevent bacteria from forming.

Use an antibacterial mouth rinse

While brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice daily is crucial in reducing the buildup of harmful bacteria, using an antibacterial mouth rinse can reduce the buildup of bacteria in the mouth when combined with proper oral hygiene.

Monitor for poor oral conditions

Monitoring your teeth and gums for signs of poor oral conditions, like bleeding with brushing, soreness of the gums, receding gums, and halitosis, can help you detect any abnormalities early and is often an indicator that you need to schedule a consultation with your dental practice.

Maintain regular dental appointments

Oral health is equally as important as any other health aspect. Regular dental appointments allow your team of highly trained professionals to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up that you have not been able to remove from brushing alone.

Quit smoking

Smoking is a leading contributor to gum disease and other harmful conditions, such as lung disease and cancer. The immune system becomes increasingly weakened, making it harder to fight off infections. It can also make it more difficult for gums to heal once gingivitis or periodontitis sets in.

Let Great Lakes Dental help!

As the leading dental practice in Mentor, Ohio, Great Lakes Dental has proven time and time again that we strive to provide excellence in oral health.  

We provide many dental services including:

  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Botox
  • Orthodontics
  • CEREC Same-day crown
  • Invisalign
  • Teeth whitening
  • Lumineers
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Full and partial dentures
  • Dental implants

No insurance? No problem! At Great Lakes Dental, we provide dental membership plans to ensure each customer can receive the same dental care needed. We offer plans at only $299 per child and $349 per adult to ensure each patient gets two cleanings per year, one set of x-rays, two oral exams, two fluoride treatments, two periodontal screenings (for adult patients), two screenings for oral cancer, and an additional 10 percent savings on any dental treatment not covered under our membership plan.

At our office, we understand that not everyone can commit to an in-office visit. While we highly recommend in-person dental appointments to be kept every six months for cleaning, x-rays, and evaluations, we provide convenient virtual appointments with your trusted dentist. If your concerns cannot be met during a virtual appointment or further testing is required, we will ask that you schedule an in-person appointment to better fit your needs.