Understanding Periodontitis, Gingivitis, and Gum Health

Periodontitis and gingivitis or otherwise known as gum disease. Both of those complicated words sound bad when you look at them, and without proper oral care and treatment, these diseases can indeed be harmful to your health. By taking the time to understand what periodontitis and gingivitis are, you can take the appropriate steps and partner with your dentist in Reading, MA, to ensure your gum health is in tip-top shape.

Gingivitis and periodontitis are both forms of gum disease, more formally known as periodontal disease. Gingivitis is reversible; however, periodontitis is not, as it involves irrecoverable bone loss. To better understand gum disease and how you can take the appropriate steps to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis, check out the list of facts below.

10 Facts About Gum Disease

1. You may have gum disease and not be aware of it. To know if you are suffering from gingivitis, be on the lookout for red, puffy gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. Gingivitis does not necessarily mean pain, so it is easy to overlook the signs and symptoms.

2. You can prevent the onset of gum disease by practicing proper oral hygiene. At the very least, you should brush twice daily, preferably after meals. Daily flossing and the use of a fluoride rinse not only help lessen your chances of gum disease but they’re good for the overall health of your teeth too. When you don’t brush or floss daily, bacteria from the day forms a thick layer on your teeth known as plaque. Over time, that plaque turns into tartar and breaks down the teeth, with your gums paying the ultimate price.

3. Between your doctor and your dentist, you have probably repeatedly heard that what you eat and drink plays a significant role in your overall health. When you consume a lot of  sugary or starchy foods, you feed the bacteria that lead to your teeth’s plaque. When those sugars and starches come into contact with the plaque in your mouth, an acid is formed. This acid can attack your teeth and break down the hard enamel on the tooth’s surface.

Some foods, however, can help fight plaque buildup. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, plain yogurt, milk, cheese, and other dairy products, green and black teas, sugarless chewing gum, and fluoridated drinking water can help prevent the onset or worsening of gum disease.

4. Orthodontia can help. This may seem counterintuitive, as certain orthodontics can promote periodontal disease, but it is also true that braces can help reduce the symptoms of gingivitis. For example, as the teeth straighten, pockets in the gums resolve. So, if you have braces, even clear aligners, such as Invisalign, as long as you are practicing proper oral hygiene, you may be at less risk for gum disease.

5. Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings by your dentist can help keep oral bacteria under control. Most dentists, including our doctors at First Dental Associates, suggest that you visit twice per year for a cleaning and oral assessment.

6. Your daily routines are just as important for your oral health as regular dental checkups . The more you can establish a routine that includes your oral health regimen, the more it will become ingrained and the less risk there will be of you forgetting and developing these gum issues.

7. Stress can increase your chances of developing periodontitis. When we experience high levels of stress, we tend to increase our bad habits and decrease our good ones. Sadness, anxiety, and loneliness can lead us to skip a tooth-brushing here or there or forget to floss. By practicing proper stress management, including getting exercise, enough sleep, and consuming a balanced diet, we can work wonders for our oral health.

8. The use of tobacco products can lead to gum disease, as it impacts bone and the soft tissues attached to your teeth. Smoking can also affect your gum tissue cells’ standard function, making smokers at a greater risk of infections, such as periodontal disease. To make matters worse, smoking can impair blood flow to the gums, making a gum infection harder to heal.

9. Your dentists, Dr. Sadeghi, Dr. Singh, and Dr. Tang, are your best friends regarding your overall health and preventing periodontal disease. Your dentist will perform a periodontal examination as part of your regular dental care at least twice a year to address any minor issues before they become more serious.

10. No matter how bad your gum disease is, you can regain gum health. Under the supervision of a dentist and when practicing proper oral hygiene, including the use of antibacterial mouthwash, your gums can recover and stop bleeding from stimuli such as flossing after just a couple of weeks.

See your dentist ASAP if you have signs of gum disease.

If you think you have gingivitis or periodontitis because you have red, puffy gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you should schedule an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner your First Dental Associates care team can treat your gum disease, the faster you will be back on your way to proper oral health.