Your gums are responsible for supporting and holding your teeth in place. It’s important to take proper care of your gums so they can remain strong and healthy for your teeth, and healthy gums start with healthy teeth. If you don’t take proper care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, for example, a large amount of plaque can build up. Untreated, this plaque can spread down into your gums, which can lead to periodontal disease.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Periodontal disease begins to emerge around the first signs of plaque and inflammation developing on the gum-line, or the line where your teeth and gums meet. Plaque produces acids that will irritate the gums here, causing gingivitis. You may notice your gums bleeding while brushing or flossing as a result. Fortunately, early periodontal disease such as gingivitis can easily be reversed with a visit to the dentist for a routine dental cleaning or simply brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that causes damage to your gums as well as the bone underneath that helps hold your teeth in place. At this stage of periodontal disease, your gums may begin to form pockets that pull away from your teeth and traps plaque that will cause additional damage. While this type of damage is not as reversible as gingivitis, you can prevent further damage by visiting the dentist for dental cleaning and treatment.
Advanced periodontitis is extensive damage to your gums and jawbone, which causes your teeth to loosen. At this stage of disease, if aggressive treatment is not effective, you may lose or have to remove teeth. Damage to your gums and jawbone from advanced periodontitis is not reversible and often requires aggressive treatment to eliminate inflammation and infection.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
While the early development of a periodontal disease is reversible, you can avoid gum disease completely by practicing these good dental habits:
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings and check-ups.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with antibacterial, fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day or after meals.
- Use antibacterial mouthwash to eliminate bacteria.
- Drink plenty of water daily.
- Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks.