The Onset and Progression of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition that signals the first stage of gum disease. There are multiple signs that may occur to indicate the onset of this condition, and a primary cause is inefficient or inconsistent daily oral hygiene care. Your dentist advises that daily flossing and brushing after meals can help to prevent:
- Bleeding – Gums can bleed due to using a hard bristle tooth brush and exerting heavy pressure in an attempt to scrub teeth clean. Switching to the recommended soft bristle tooth brush and a lighter touch may help. If bleeding gum tissue continues, it is time to visit the dentist.
- Bright red or swollen gum tissue – Healthy gums are pink, and should not appear puffy.
- Receding gum tissue – If one or more teeth appear to be pulling away from gums, this is a sign that gum disease may be present.
- Chronic bad breath – As bacteria continues to build on teeth, plaque forms particularly around the gum line. Although halitosis can be due to other conditions such as infected tonsils, a likely culprit is gingivitis.
- Tooth discomfort – Gums or teeth should not hurt. And the entire mouth does not have to be involved for gingivitis to be diagnosed.
If one or more of these indicators is present, it is time to consult your dental provider. A thorough cleaning will remove plaque build-up. If gingivitis has advanced to the more serious periodontitis, an antibiotic may be prescribed to overcome the infection.
If these conditions are ignored, the result can be life changing. As gingivitis progresses, the resulting gum disease can ultimately mean infection, illness and tooth loss.
Treatment is based on the extent of the condition. Early onset gingivitis may be healed with a thorough cleaning to remove plaque. But treatment can’t end there … the patient must assume the responsibility at this point by committing to daily flossing and brushing after meals to keep plaque build-up controlled.
More extensive treatment may be needed if gingivitis has advanced to periodontitis. At this point the patient may require root planing and scaling. If this does not thoroughly correct the condition, the patient may have to undergo osseous surgery to prevent tooth loss.
A nourishing diet, getting sufficient rest, and committing to a healthy lifestyle along with the correct daily oral hygiene regimen and semi-annual visits to the dentist may prevent this problem from ever occurring.
Contact the office of Dr. Melisa Christian today for more information and to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning.