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Health

How to tell if you have periodontal (gum) disease

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Do your gums feel sore when you floss and brush your teeth?  Do you notice a little bit of blood when you spit water after brushing?  If so, there’s a possibility you have gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, is the first stage towards developing periodontal disease.  It occurs when the gums around the teeth become red and swollen, and may bleed when you’re cleaning your teeth.

Periodontal disease is the more severe form of gum disease, and is characterized by swelling, soreness, or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth.  If left untreated, it can cause the bone that anchors the teeth to weaken, making the teeth loose and more likely to fall out.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a layer of bacteria that forms on the surface of the teeth.  It must be cleaned off each day, and what you can’t remove can be taken care of by your dentist during regular checkups.  Smoking causes dental patients to produce even more bacterial plaque that leads to gum disease; since smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, the infected gums don’t heal easily.

Gum disease doesn’t typically cause pain, so it can get worse without you noticing.  While gums may be sore occasionally, it’s easy to attribute it to something else.  If you notice pain and light bleeding when you brush, be sure to have your dentist check for gum disease.  The best way to prevent gum disease is to follow a good oral care routine at home and to visit your dentist each year.  Periodontal disease can’t be cured, but it can be managed with good oral hygiene practices.

Gum disease has been linked to other health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, and cardiovascular disease.  Having a healthy mouth and gums can improve your overall health.  For more information, please contact:

Webster Cosmetic Dentistry, Ltd.

1121 Warren Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515

Ph:  (630) 663-0554

www.websterdds.com