With care, and barring accidents, your permanent teeth should last a lifetime. But tooth loss in the United States is all too common. By some estimates, 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and 36 million have no teeth. While there are various causes of tooth loss, gum disease is responsible for at least half. At Callow Family Dentistry in Plymouth, MI, we offer gentle and effective non-surgical gum disease treatment.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, almost invisible film that forms when bacteria in our mouths combine with saliva. Plaque is usually washed off teeth and gums by our saliva and by the beverages we drink. Through brushing and flossing removes plaque, but it’s common to have tiny areas of plaque buildup in the mouth. That’s why regular dental cleanings are so important – a professional cleaning will remove every trace of plaque before it begins to cause problems.
When Good Gums Go Bad
When plaque does build up on the gums around the teeth, it can lead to the gum tissue becoming inflamed. Your gums can change from a healthy pink to a dark red or even purple. The inflamed tissue may swell, becoming puffy and tender. Your gums may bleed when you brush or floss.
This is the early stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis. Caught early enough, gingivitis is effectively treated by a thorough cleaning. If the condition progresses, your gums call pull back from your teeth, leading to pockets of infection below the gumline and attacking the ligaments that help hold your teeth in place. This more severe stage of gum disease is called periodontitis.
Periodontitis may require a non-surgical technique called dental scaling and planing to remove plaque below the gumline and to clean out any pockets of infection. At Callow Family Dentistry, we use an ultrasonic scaler which is far more comfortable than traditional techniques.
Gum disease can affect more than your mouth. There’s a large and growing body of evidence that shows a strong link between long-term gum disease and serious health conditions like:
- Heart problems
- Lung problems
- Poor diabetes management
- Various types of cancers
- Bone loss
Take Care of Your Gums, and They’ll Take Care of You
Your first line of defense against gum disease is regular and thorough brushing and flossing. Plaque begins to reform within 24 hours after being removed, so brushing and flossing every day is a must for healthy gums. Be sure to use a brush with a small head and soft bristles. That will allow you to more comfortably reach all the little nooks and crannies in your mouth.
Some people are naturally more likely to develop gum disease. For those people, Dr. Callow may recommend an oral rinse in addition to more frequent dental cleanings and examinations.
Don’t let good gums go bad. Schedule regular dental cleanings and examinations from Callow Family Dentistry in Plymouth, MI. Call our office today at 734-404-7336 for a consultation.