What Every Patient Should Know About Gum Disease

Highland Ranch family dentist

As a Highland Ranch family dentist, our team at Aloha Dental knows how to ensure that our patients enjoy a healthy, great-looking smile for a lifetime. As most of you know by now, gum disease ranks as the leading cause of serious oral health problems that can permanently damage a patient’s smile.

Early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, can cause gum tissue to become red, swollen, and to bleed easily, especially after brushing or flossing. When left untreated, gingivitis can progress into the far more serious periodontitis, a condition that can lead to gum recession and permanent tooth loss.

Gum disease also ranks as the leading untreated infection in the U.S., and the CDC estimates that 47 percent of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.

Considering the important role our gums play in protecting our oral and overall health, patients need to successfully separate fact from fiction when it comes to gum disease. As your Highland Ranch family dentist, our team at Aloha Dental wants to make sure our patients have the information they need to enjoy a healthy, happy smile for years to come. With that in mind, let’s dispel a few common misconceptions about gum disease.

Only Smokers Get Gum Disease

While smokers have a higher chance of developing gum disease, anyone who doesn’t practice quality oral hygiene at home, and who doesn’t regularly visit their Highland Ranch family dentist, can develop gingivitis and periodontitis.

Daily brushing and flossing work to remove food particles and harmful oral bacteria away from the surface of a patient’s teeth and gums. Failure to brush twice a day or floss daily allows harmful oral bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. These bacteria then use the sugars we consume to produce substances that slowly erode tooth enamel.

In addition to poor oral hygiene, other factors that contribute to poor oral health include:

  • Hormonal changes, such as during menopause or pregnancy
  • Certain types of medication, especially those that cause dry mouth as a side effect
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Genetics
  • Age

The best method of ensuring your gums stay healthy is to practice quality oral hygiene at home, regularly visit your Highland Ranch family dentist, and to eat a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and veggies.

No Big Deal if Gums Bleed

Healthy gums do not bleed. In fact, healthy gums should appear light pink in color and feature a firm texture.

When gums become red, tender, swollen, and start to bleed, these are all potential signs of early stage gum disease, or gingivitis. If you notice blood in your tooth paste or between your teeth and along the gum line after brushing and flossing, you need to schedule a dental exam with our team at Aloha Dental.

We can treat gingivitis and reverse any damage the disease causes to a patient’s gum health when caught early on. Allowing the disease to progress into periodontitis can allow permanent damage to occur.

If you notice the signs for gum disease, you need to take action. The longer you wait the more treatment you will need in the future.

Gum Disease Always Causes Noticeable Symptoms

After explaining the symptoms gum disease causes, we also need to note that gum disease doesn’t always problems to occur early on. In fact, most patients only notice the symptoms of the disease fairly far along in its progression. That gum disease can linger for a long time without patients realizing they even have a problem can lead to some unpleasant surprises.

Patients who visit our office may think they have good oral health only to receive a much different diagnosis from our dentists. By the time patients notice swollen or bleeding gum tissue more serious problems may have already started to develop.

Loose teeth, increased sensitivity to hot and cold items, persistent bad breath, problems chewing, and teeth that appear longer are all symptoms of periodontitis. When these types of problems develop, they require significantly more treatment to correct. In some cases, the damage caused by even be irreversible.

Since gum disease can develop without any significant warning signs, patients need to schedule regular visits to see our team at Aloha Dental. With regular dental care, our dentists will spot the early signs of gum disease when still easily treatable.

Brushing and Flossing Can Cure Gum Disease

While daily oral hygiene remains key to preventing gum disease, brushing and flossing can’t reserve gum disease once it has developed.

Since gum disease occurs due to the buildup of harmful oral bacteria on our teeth and along the gum line, treating the disease requires the removal of bacteria by a dental hygienist. However, once cleaned, patients can protect their teeth from future bacterial buildup with improved oral hygiene.

Tips from your Highland Ranch family dentist on the causes and signs of gum disease. 

Gum disease can seriously impact the health of your smile. Don’t let this treatable and preventable disease ruin your oral health by scheduling your next dental exam and cleaning with the team at Aloha Dental today.