Although almost fifty percent of the adults in the United States suffer from gum disease, most people are not aware that they have it, and do not understand the need to treat it. Gum disease can lead to lost teeth, bad breath and damage to your jaw. However, the damage can be much greater than that. Untreated gum disease has been linked to dementia, hardening of the arteries and swelling in the heart valves, as well as complications for diabetes. In fact, gum disease can make it harder to control your blood sugar levels.
What are the signs of gum disease? You may or may not experience pain in your gums. Your gums may swell and become tender. Healthy gums are pink in color, and red gums may indicate the presence of gum disease. If you have loose teeth, chronic bad breath, or gums that bleed when you brush and floss, you need to contact your dentist.
The most common cause of gum disease is the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Your body reacts to this plaque with swollen gums which allows more plaque and tartar to build up below the gumline, where your toothbrush cannot reach it. Gum disease allows bacteria to enter your body and cause an infection.
The best way to prevent plaque is to brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once a day. You should also see your dentist every six months for a routine cleaning, during which the dentist will remove any leftover plaque and tartar.
In its early stages, gum disease can often be treated with two processes: scaling and root planing. Two appointments are usually needed, and a local anesthetic may be administered. During scaling, the dentist will use a tool to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth above and below the gumline. In root planing, the dentist will clean and smooth the roots of your teeth.
If you are concerned about gum disease, or if it is just time for your routine visit, Dr. Robert Marder will be happy to see you. If you live in the New City, New York, area, and would like to schedule an appointment at Robert W Marder DMD, PLLC, call 212-265-8291 today. We’re excited about helping you start on the road to a healthier smile!