Like many other health issues, procrastination can spell disaster when it comes to dealing with gum disease. As a progressive illness, gum disease only grows worse with time, and the longer you wait, the more destruction you’ll have to rebuild to restore your smile’s beauty and function. So how do you know if you have gum disease, and how do you protect yourself from it? By identifying the mechanisms that cause it and the symptoms of its development, you can better fight gum disease before it has a chance to cause irreparable damage.
The Start of Gum Disease
When plaque accumulates along your gum line, oral bacteria from within the film can release toxins that irritate your gums, causing them to swell and bleed. When this inflammation is prolonged, your gums can separate from your teeth (gum recession), creating small pockets (periodontal pockets) where more germs can gather and wreak havoc. Left untreated, gum disease will continue its destructive work of undermining your teeth’s supporting gum tissue and, eventually, your jawbone structure.
Taking the Fight to Gum Disease
The key to controlling gum disease is controlling the bacteria that initiate it. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day is your main defense against the colorless plaque that oral bacteria form to protect themselves. However, even the most diligent oral hygiene routine can miss a spot. By attending your six-month dental checkup and cleaning, you allow your dentist to thoroughly inspect your mouth for early signs of gum and other dental diseases. If gum disease seems imminent, you may require periodontal cleaning to remove the threat.
More involved than a routine dental cleaning, a deep cleaning involves thoroughly removing traces of plaque and tartar (hardened plaque that has stayed on your teeth for more than 48 hours) from underneath your gum line. The procedure also includes smoothing your root’s surfaces underneath your gums to prevent bacterial plaque from clinging to them.