Great dental care and superior oral health begin at home, and most of us are taught the importance of brushing our teeth from a very early age. However, we often focus purely on the teeth and pay very little attention to the gum tissue surrounding them. If the teeth aren’t brushed properly, with particular attention being paid to the area where the teeth meet the gum line, then it significantly increases the risk of us developing a common, but potentially very serious inflammatory condition called periodontal disease.
Here at Arlington Smile Design, we offer a comprehensive periodontal care service that helps to ensure that our patients have healthy teeth and gums, helping them to retain an attractive smile for as long as possible.
About periodontal disease
Periodontal disease is the name given to a condition that is characterized by the infection of the main structure around our teeth – the gums. Our gums are very sensitive soft tissues that play an important role in the health and retention of our teeth. When we fail to brush our teeth properly, some of the plaque – which is the thin, sticky, colorless substance that forms on the teeth – can spread onto the gum tissue. If this happens, they can irritate the tissue, causing inflammation and redness. This is the earliest stage of periodontal disease, known as gingivitis. At this stage, the condition can be reversed by making significant improvements to your oral hygiene routine. However, periodontal disease is progressive and will become much worse if left. This can have serious and even permanent repercussions for your teeth and overall oral health.
The importance of our gums
Gum health is an integral part of your overall health and wellbeing, as well as being vital for the longevity of your teeth. This is because:
Gums keep your teeth in place. Our gums act as a seal around our teeth, protecting the more sensitive tissues beneath from bacteria and debris that can lead to decay and other problems. They also add stability to the entire tooth structure.
Gums are linked to whole-body health. Studies have found that patients with periodontal disease are more likely to also have a range of other health problems. this includes cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, liver and kidney problems, and even some types of cancer. This is believed to be because the bacteria can move from the gums into the bloodstream and spread around the body to other organs.
Healthy gums could mean a healthier brain. Other research has shown that periodontal disease could contribute towards some cognitive issues such as memory loss and understanding. In fact, evidence suggests that patients with gum disease could be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
Symptoms of periodontal disease
Gum disease is often overlooked in its earliest stages, and this is because the initial symptoms are mild and easily ignored. However, as it progresses, it can have a debilitating effect on your oral health and life.
The symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Bad breath
- A foul taste in your mouth
- Receding gums
- Abscesses around the teeth
- Loose teeth
Treatment for periodontal disease
The best way to treat periodontal disease is to practice good oral hygiene and visit our dental team regularly so that we can monitor you for signs of the condition and provide you with regular professional cleans which help to keep periodontal disease at bay. This is because our team has better access and viewing of your teeth, as well as cutting-edge tools which help to ensure that your teeth are as clean as possible. This treatment is often referred to as a ‘scale and polish’.
If you are found to have moderate gum disease, you may be recommended for a treatment called root planing. This is a deep cleans that penetrates under the gums, removing bacteria from the roots of the teeth. This will be discussed with you should it be an option to help resolve your periodontal disease.
At home, you should make sure that you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, use mouthwash and floss as often as possible. If you smoke, you should seriously consider giving up as periodontal disease is more common in people who smoke.
If you are concerned about periodontal disease and would like more advice, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with our discreet and professional team, please contact our dental offices in Arlington, VA today.