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For answers about gum disease

caution_gum_disease1It can be avoided and treated

Gum disease is a very common health concern today. In fact, in Canada more than 50% of adults have some form periodontal disease. By age 35, 3 out of 4 people are affected. While gum disease is more common in adults, it can affect anyone.

Unlike many diseases, gum disease has very few tell-tale clues. It often develops gradually and painlessly. In many cases, by the time it presents obvious symptoms, the disease has become serious enough to put you in danger of losing teeth.

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How does gum disease develop?

  1. It all begins with plaque. Plaque is a clear, sticky substance that forms on our teeth every day. It’s created by acids that are secreted by the bacteria that’s naturally present in our mouths. Plaque can be removed by regular brushing and flossing, but if any is left behind, it will eventually harden into tartar. Tartar can’t be removed by brushing and flossing.
  2. Tartar causes the gums to become inflamed.  This is what’s known as gingivitis – the early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is painless. The only signs you may notice are redness, some bleeding and bad breath.
  3. Left to progress, gum disease eventually begins to break down these gum tissues forming “pockets” of infection to form. Again, the infection is painless with only puffiness, gum colour changes, bad breath and bleeding as symptoms. At this stage, your gums begin to lose their attachment to the teeth they were meant to secure.
  4. Along with this attachment loss, gum disease can also break down the bones that hold your teeth in place. This is how the disease causes tooth loss.

Keep your gums healthy and your teeth firmly in place

The good news is gum disease is both treatable and preventable. In fact, preventing gum disease is relatively simple. All it takes is a good oral hygiene routine that includes regular brushing and flossing along with professional cleanings and dental exams.

The professional cleanings will remove any tartar that has been allowed to build up, while the exam helps Chestermere dentist Dr Lowry to identify and treat any inflammation that may be present.

If gum disease does manage to sneak in, there are ways to treat it in its early stages or reverse it if is has begun to progress. Here’s the process:

  1. By using a periodontal probe, Dr Lowry measures how well your gums are attached to your teeth.
  2. Dental x-rays show Dr Lowry how much bone is surrounding your teeth.
  3. If gum disease has progressed, root scaling and planing can be used to clean away the infection.
  4. Surgery is the next step if gum tissue or bone damage has become extensive.

Avoid it in the first placebest_defense

An oral health care regime of brushing and flossing along with regular cleanings and exams are your best defence against gum disease.

If you notice signs such as:

  • Puffy, red or swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Sensitive teeth

schedule a dental exam as soon as you can.

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