Just about everyone has been told that proper dental care, including brushing your teeth on a daily basis, is critical for strong healthy teeth and preventing gum disease. While anything with the word “disease” in it is something that you definitely want to avoid, how much do you really know about it? How common is gum disease? Is it something you can prevent? And what happens if you ignore the signs of gum disease and allow it to progress?

In today’s post, your dental care experts from Hazel Dell Dental Care in Vancouver are here to explain the basics of gum disease and what you can do to prevent it. Looking for a good dentist that can help you maintain that healthy smile? Read our post and then give our office a call to schedule your initial consultation.

What Exactly Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the gums or the tissues that hold your teeth in place. This infection is caused by a buildup of plaque, or bacteria and food residue. In its initial stages, it’s commonly referred to as gingivitis and people that have it can experience sore, swollen gums and bleeding when they brush their teeth.

If left untreated, however, plaque can keep growing and extend below the gum line creating a much more serious problem called periodontitis. As bacteria continue to grow below the gum line, they create a toxin that stimulates an inflammatory response in the body. This response is what starts breaking down gums and bone, eventually leading to tooth loss.

But the problems don’t end there…

Gum Disease May Play a Part In Other Serious Health Issues

According to a recent article by Medical News Today, gum disease may be involved in a whole range of health problems. Studies have linked it to everything from heart disease and erectile dysfunction to Alzheimers and cancer. These theories aren’t meant to be alarming. Additional research is certainly needed, but if there is any possible correlation, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to practice good dental care to prevent gum disease in the first place.

Gum Disease is Very Common In the United States

According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, almost half of all people in the United States have periodontitis. This is a huge number! The study only confirms the need for better education and more research. While many people probably know that they need to take care of their teeth, they may not realize the true importance of it and the possible effect on their overall health.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

How do you know if you have gum disease? Most likely, if you visit your dentist regularly, he will make you aware of issues like bleeding of the gums when your teeth are being cleaned. But, what if you haven’t been to a dentist in a while? If you’ve noticed that your gums are tender, swollen, and often bleed when you brush, you’re most likely in the initial stages of gum disease. You might also notice that you have bad breath most of the time.

If you don’t know if your gums bleed (because you don’t brush regularly), but it’s painful to chew and you have loose or sensitive teeth, you may have a more advanced form of gum disease. You might also notice your gums receding. Whether you’re in the initial stages of gum disease or you have a more advanced form, it’s very important to see your dentist and start making better habits of brushing and flossing.

Gum Disease Prevention

You can talk to your dentist about various treatment options, but your best bet is to have a good prevention plan. The primary cause of gum disease is related to excess plaque formation. By controlling plaque, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to prevent gum disease. You can reduce plaque formation by brushing and flossing twice a day and getting professional cleanings twice a year. Using an antibacterial mouthwash may also help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.

Contact Hazel Dell Dental Care

If you’re in the Vancouver area and looking for an experienced dentist you can trust, call Hazel Dell Dental Care. Our team of caring professionals will go out of the way to make sure you have a gentle, anxiety-free experience. We want you to help you learn about the best options for ensuring oral health, and see you go home with strong, healthy teeth!

In addition to routine dental care, we also provide services to restore perfect smiles. If you’re thinking about getting your teeth straightened, having them whitened, or getting porcelain veneers, we can provide those services as well. For all of your current and future oral health needs, please think of Hazel Dell Dental! Contact us today to set up an appointment!