According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half (47 percent) of Americans over the age of 30 have gum disease, and for seniors, the rate is even higher at 70 percent. Gum disease refers to inflammation of the gums and the bones supporting your teeth, and it increases the risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
Luckily, you can reverse gum disease in the early stages, and the right treatment can prevent serious gum disease from getting worse. Here’s what you need to know.
Know the Signs of Gum Disease
Treating gum disease is always more effective if you start early. So that’s possible, you need to keep an eye out for signs that you may have gum disease. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Red, painful gums
- Pus in your gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Receding gum lines
- Sores on your gums
Step Up Your Hygiene Routine
The first step in fighting gum disease is to improve your oral hygiene routine. That reduces the presence of bacteria and plaque in your mouth, both of which are linked to gum disease. Try to brush and floss after every meal or at least twice a day, and use an antibacterial mouthwash regularly. You may want to talk with your dentist about prescription mouthwash.
Schedule Professional Cleanings
Over time plaque turns into tartar, and that is impossible to remove at home on your own. To get rid of the tartar in your mouth, make sure that you go in for a professional cleaning twice per year or more often as recommended by your dentist.
Consider Scaling and Root Planing
In some cases, you may need to go above and beyond a routine professional cleaning, and you may need to get scaling and root planing. Scaling is a process where the dentist removes plaque and tartar that has built up around the edge of the tooth, just below the gum line. This is a deep cleaning process that address decay and bacteria found in the pockets or cavities between your teeth and gums.
Then, after the dentist completes the scaling process, they can use root planing. This procedure smooths the exposed parts of your teeth’s roots. When the surfaces are smoothed out, they are less likely to build up tartar, and that helps to prevent your gum disease from getting worse.
Unfortunately, if you don’t treat the gum disease, it will get worse. As it worsens, the condition progresses to periodontal disease, and that starts to break down the bones supporting your teeth. When that happens, you may face more cavities and need root canals or extractions. To avoid that situation, you need to talk with your dentist as soon as you see the early signs of gum disease.
Although gum disease is common, it’s a very serious disease, and in fact, it’s one of the main reasons that many seniors lose their teeth. To get help or to learn more about preventing gum disease, contact us for an appointment today. At Suwanee Center for Family Dentistry, we offer routine dental care, restorative dental treatments, cosmetic dental care, and more.