Graphic illustration of a person with bleeding gums, or periodontal disease. dentist in Hot Springs Village

Understanding Gum Disease: Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment

September 28, 2023 9:00 am

Maintaining good oral health is essential for a confident smile and overall well-being. One common oral health issue that many people face is gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. In this blog, we will discuss what gum disease is, its symptoms, how to prevent it, and the available treatment options.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth, including the gums and bones that hold the teeth in place. The primary cause of periodontal disease is the accumulation of plaque — a sticky film of bacteria — on teeth and gums. Left untreated, gum disease can progress, leading to serious oral health problems.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Recognizing the symptoms of gum disease is crucial for effective treatment. Here are some common signs to watch out for:

  • Bleeding Gums: One of the first signs of gum disease is bleeding gums, especially when brushing or flossing.

  • Swollen or Red Gums: Healthy gums should be pink and firm. If your gums are swollen, red, or tender, it could be a sign of gum disease.

  • Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath that doesn’t improve with oral hygiene could be a result of bacteria associated with gum disease.

  • Receding Gums: As gum disease progresses, gums can start to pull away from the teeth. This can cause teeth to appear longer and create pockets where bacteria accumulate.

  • Sensitive Teeth: Gum disease can cause teeth to become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.

How Do I Prevent Gum Disease?

Prevention is key to avoiding the onset of gum disease. Following steps like brushing and flossing daily, maintaining regular dental visits, and avoiding poor oral habits like smoking can help you avoid gum disease. It is also important to consider what you eat, as sugary food and drinks can contribute to plaque formation.

Treating Gum Disease

If periodontal disease is diagnosed, timely treatment can prevent further damage. Treatment options depend on the severity of the condition but may include:

  • Professional Cleaning: In the early stages, a professional dental cleaning can remove plaque and tartar buildup.

  • Scaling and Root Planing: For more advanced cases, a deep cleaning procedure may be necessary to remove bacteria and smooth the tooth roots.

  • Medications: To help control infection, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics or antimicrobial mouth rinses.

Preventive Dental Care in Hot Springs Village, AR

Understanding gum disease, recognizing its symptoms, and taking proactive steps for prevention can help you maintain a healthy smile. At Lefler Dental, we’re here to help patients learn about every aspect of oral health and place a large emphasis on preventive care. If you suspect you have gum disease or would like to schedule a preventive dental appointment to prevent gum disease, give our office a call!

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