Gum disease, known as gingivitis or its more advanced stage, periodontal disease, affects people from every background, and can be not only painful, but a health risk. Gum disease is characterised by swelling and inflammation, bleeding of the gums, and in its more advanced stages, erosion of the teeth and bones. Teeth may loosen and fall out, and the mouth is exposed to dangerous infections. While there are a variety of causes, including poor hygiene and genetics, and not all are within an individual’s control. The most effective prevention when it comes to gum disease is frequent trips to the dentist.
Dental check ups provide you with several important tools to prevent and treat gum disease. Frequent dental cleanings reduce the plaque build up that causes gum disease, and lets your dentist check in with you about your oral hygiene habits. The deep clean a dentist can provide is far better than even the most assiduous brushing, and a regular cleaning will help keep plaque at a level you can maintain. Plaque builds up quickly without regular dental cleanings, and so even if you brush and floss regularly you are still compromising your dental health by not visiting the dentist. This is also an opportunity for your dentist to observe and gather data on your mouth, so that if a problem does begin to develop, he or she can catch it and help you treat it. You may not realise that your gums are slightly swollen or tender, especially if you do not floss frequently, but your dentist will pick up on the warning signs and advise you on the proper steps for treatment.
The risks of periodontal disease range from painful swelling to tooth loss and diabetes. The causes can be genetic, the result of hormone changes, illness, smoking, poor hygiene habits, or a side effect of medications. Talking with your dentist can help make you aware of these risks, and address them when they arrive. Your dentist needs to be aware of any medications you may be on just as another doctor would. Your general physician may not be aware of a dental risk, but your dentist will be able to give you a necessary heads up.
Taking care of your mouth is important to your general health as well as your oral health, and when it comes to gum disease, it is important to stay on top of oral hygiene. Good hygiene habits combined with frequent trips to the dentist are the only ways to effectively prevent and treat gum disease.