Gum disease, known also as periodontal disease, usually happens when a person is not taking proper care of the gums or has a systemic disease. Problems such as diabetes, arthritis, advanced age, braces, pregnancy and some medications can affect the health of your gums. If it is found that medication is causing a problem I will work with the prescribing physician to see if any changes can be made. Gum disease is common in children who are wearing braces, due to inefficient brushing and flossing. Brushing frequently after each meal is ideal but in our busy world is a difficult task. I recommend for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment to carry a tooth brush so they can brush their teeth after eating. It makes the treatment process smoother.
During pregnancy hormone levels go up and everything swells up, again frequent brushing and visits to your OBGYN and dentist will help. Women who do have periodontal disease are prone to have premature labor and low birth weight babies.
The main culprit of gum disease is plaque. When you eat a microfilm forms on the teeth. If this is not cleaned properly, it will harden and begin to cause inflammation of the gums. Bleeding gums are an indication that there is gum disease or periodontal disease.
The best treatment for gum disease is prevention. To prevent gum disease, I recommend brushing frequently and having frequent dental cleanings. I also recommend using an electric toothbrush to help keep the gums clean and healthy. Brushing three times per day and flossing at least once a day is optimal to help prevent gum problems. When a patient presents with gum disease there are treatments available to reverse the process and help prevent tooth loss. We can provide scaling and root planing to eliminate the plaque and tartar that are causing the problem. This process involves a professional, deep cleaning of the gums to help them breathe and be healthier. For patients that have higher risk factors such as poor hygiene, diabetes, arthritis, advanced age, braces, pregnancy, or medications, I like to see them have a professional cleaning every three to four months instead of every six months. If you are very diligent with brushing and have no other problems, cleaning every six months is fine.
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