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Gum Disease 101

What comes to mind when you think of oral health problems? Likely, the first few images that come to mind are of cavities or yellow and rotting teeth. We’re here today to show you why gum disease should also be up there in your list of problems to be worried about.

What’s in a Name

Gum disease is a broad term for any infection of the gumline. Mild forms of it are typically referred to as gingivitis, a term that you’ve likely stumbled across at some point. Gingivitis is characterized by redness and swelling of the gums, as well as bleeding and tenderness.  If caught early and treated properly, gingivitis is nothing to worry about and easily reversible. However, if left untreated, the infection and worsen and develop into full on periodontal disease, which is a much bigger deal. At this point, the infection has gone deep into your gums and is potentially the roots of your teeth or jawbone. Generally we like to catch the problem before it gets to this point.

Who’s Most at Risk?

Your mouth comes equipped with many different ways of keeping gum disease causing bacteria out. Saliva, for example, contains digestive enzymes that target and destroy bacteria before they have a chance to do any serious harm. People who are taking medication to treat other diseases such as high blood pressure or diuretics tend to produce less saliva as a side effect. As a result, less saliva is available for washing over teeth and counteracting the bacteria as they start eating away at your gums. These people are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, along with anyone else who is producing abnormal saliva levels, including pregnant women. However, that doesn’t mean everyone else is safe.  A diet of highly refined carbohydrates, for example, turns your gum line into a breeding ground for bacteria.

How Can I Treat it?

As mentioned above, mild forms of gum disease like gingivitis are easily treated by simple brushing and flossing habits. If the conditions worsens, speaking to your dentist is the best thing to do. They may prescribe you antibiotic medications or a special kind of doxycycline gel to localize the damage.

The best way to treat gum disease is to avoid it in the first place! Cut down on refined sugar and tighten up your nightly brushing and flossing routine. Centennial Smiles is more than happy to address any concerns you may have. Simply give us a call at (587) 317‑7959 today!

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