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Periodontal Disease: Frequently Asked Questions

It is estimated that one-half of all Americans over thirty suffer from periodontal disease. Otherwise known as gum disease, periodontal disease is an epidemic across the United States, and if it isn't treated by a dentist, it could cause several problems in the future, including tooth loss.
Don't allow periodontal disease to rob you of your beautiful smile. Instead, take a look at a few frequently asked questions you might have about gum disease:

What Exactly Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a progressive disorder that is caused by the bacteria that are naturally found in your mouth. When the bacteria are combined with saliva and mucus, they form a sticky substance called plaque.
Regular brushing and flossing can get rid of most plaque. However, if you don't do a good job brushing or don't brush at least twice a day, the plaque can turn into tartar. Once you have tartar, you must have your dentist remove it at your regular cleanings.
Other risk factors associated with gum disease include:
•    Diabetes
•    Smoking
•    Medications that reduce the production of saliva, including certain blood pressure medications, seizure medications, and medications that suppress the immune system, such as those taken after a transplant
Additionally, genetic components can make some people prone to developing periodontal disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease has three stages, and each has various symptoms. Here are the three stages of periodontal disease and the symptoms associated with each:
•    Gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. It is characterized by swollen and bleeding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, tooth pain and ulcers on the gums. If you are in the early stages of gingivitis, you can still visit your dentist to have the tartar removed, which can stop gum disease in its tracks.
•    Periodontitis. The next stage is periodontitis. During this stage, your gums will begin to recede, which can allow food to become trapped. The bone that supports your teeth are also affected.
•    Advanced Periodontitis. During the final stage, called advanced periodontitis, the bones that support your teeth are irreparably damaged. Your teeth will begin to feel loose, and if they are severely damaged, you might need to have them removed.
If you suspect you are in any of the three stages of gum disease, it is critical to visit your dentist immediately. With proper dental intervention, it is possible to save most of your teeth.

How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a potentially devastating illness that can lead to infection and tooth loss. Luckily, you can do several things today to prevent developing gum disease. Here are a few things you can try:
•    Brush your teeth at least twice a day. The easiest way to prevent gum disease is to brush your teeth in the morning and at night. If you are at risk of developing gum disease, consider brushing your teeth after each meal.
•    Floss and use mouth wash. Regular flossing and the use of mouth wash are two additional ways to prevent periodontal disease. The floss and mouthwash can help eliminate bacteria and food debris that your toothbrush can't get rid of.
•    See your dentist for regular cleanings. Visit your dentist every six months for your regular cleanings. These deep cleanings can remove the tartar and plague that will lead to gum disease.
•    Understand your risk factors of developing periodontal disease. If you're a smoker, quit right away. Switching to a different medication that doesn't cause dry mouth can also help prevent developing gum disease.
If your family is prone to gum disease, don't hesitate to ask your dentist about any additional steps you can take to prevent plaque and tartar build-up.
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that impacts millions of Americans. If you have any further questions about gum disease, don't hesitate to contact the professionals at AICO's Dental Group