Gum disease can threaten your oral health and cause other problems. We explain how to prevent periodontitis and improve gum health.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum (periodontal) disease is caused by plaque - bacteria that builds up on your teeth and creates toxins. The toxins infect gum tissue and bones surrounding the teeth.
Though it may be painless and grow slowly, gum disease has serious consequences. Not only could you lose your teeth, but because gum health interconnects with many other aspects of oral and physical health, this silent infection can put you at risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Types of Gum Disease
The two types of gum disease include:
Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease. At this point, gums may become sensitive, red and swollen, and you may spot blood in your toothbrush.
Periodontitis is the more serious form of gum disease. At this stage, your gums recede and bacteria eventually fills pockets between gums and teeth. Light to moderate bone loss in the jaw can also happen.
Teeth lose support as your gums, bone, and periodontal ligament break down. Moderate to severe bone loss in your jaw may occur, and your teeth can become loose or fall out.
How to Maintain and Improve Gum Health
Though gum disease has scary outcomes, most cases are preventable with good oral hygiene and regular checkups. Here’s what you can do at home and how your dentist can help:
- Brush at least twice daily
- Floss once per day
- Rinse thoroughly with an alcohol-free anti-gingivitis mouthwash
- See your dentist regularly and let them know about any changes, gum sensitivity or soreness
What Your Dentist Can Do for Your Gums
Your dentist provides professional cleanings and tracks your oral health so any problems can be spotted early.
They’ll ask if you’ve noticed any changes or sensitivity in your gums, whether you’ve been following your regular oral care routine and can answer questions about oral hygiene and care.
Treatments for Gum Disease
At Royal York Dental, we offer a variety of options to help you maintain healthy gums, and prevent and treat gum disease:
To treat early-stage gum disease, we recommend frequent hygiene appointments, deep cleanings and specialized home care routines.
This surgical procedure thickens gums, protects against the damaging effects of gum recession and can help improve the appearance of your smile.
The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique is a scalpel-free, suture-free option for treating gum recession. A dentist uses a needle to make a small hole in the patient’s existing gum tissue, through which they use special instruments to gently loosen the gum tissue. The gumline is gently adjusted to cover the exposed root structure.
These cosmetic procedures can help improve your smile’s overall aesthetics. Teeth contouring involves using a dental drill to shave away excess tooth material and reshaping chipped, uneven or poorly aligned teeth, while excess gum tissue is removed to contour or lift gums.