One of the most important parts of the human body is the teeth. If properly cared for they will serve a person faithfully for their entire life. It is not unusual to find people in their 90’s that have their original teeth even though they may have been repaired along the way with fillings, bridges, or other types of dental care.

The basis of good dental care is located in the gums. Keeping them healthy and in good condition is the basis of good teeth. That is why it is extremely important to avoid the pain and the plague of gum disease, also called gingivitis and periodontitis.

Regular brushing and flossing of the teeth should be done gently to avoid damaging tooth enamel or causing red and swollen gums. A toothbrush should be selected that has soft bristles with blunt ends and should be used a minimum of twice a day.

Signs of Gum Disease

Age 30 and 40 are when the most common signs of gum disease appear. These indications include one or more of the following:

  • Blood on the toothbrush
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Red, tender or swollen gums
  • Pain when eating
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Bad taste in the mouth

Gum Disease Cause

Gum disease is caused by a ‘plaque’ which is formed on the teeth by a buildup of mucus, bacteria, and food or other particles. This becomes hardened into what is called a tartar, which cuts into the gums. This condition, called gingivitis, causes the gums to become red, inflamed, and to bleed. If this is not treated, it will turn into a very serious disease called periodontitis.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease and is the easier period of treatment. A specially trained dental hygienist, or the doctor’s office, can clean the teeth and remove all the tartar.

Periodontitis

This is the most serious form of gum disease. At this stage pockets form around the teeth and become infected. Bacteria spreads and, at this point, a person can lose teeth, tissue, and bone. Teeth often fall out or have to be removed at this point.

Treatment

People who have regular dental appointments have their teeth cleaned on a scheduled basis and do not suffer from this condition. Recognizing some patients’ reluctance to have their teeth worked on, most modern dentists offer gas or special deadening forms of medication, which, when applied to the gums, provide a pain-free treatment.

In some cases of bleeding gums, the teeth will need to be deep cleaned (scaled) and any necessary medications applied. In severe cases, surgical treatment may be required. The dentist may also prescribe certain mouth rinse or other medications to assist in the treatment at home.

If you would like further information regarding gum disease or need treatment, feel free to contact the office of Dr. Larry Molenda D.D.S. located in San Marcos, TX.

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