You might not know that gum disease is by far the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. That’s a sad fact, because gum disease is largely preventable and is relatively easy to treat if it’s caught in its early stage. If you have any of the signs of gingivitis – the first stage of gum disease – get gentle and effective treatment from Dr. Kevin McMahon at Edgewood Dental Care in Edgewood, KY.
Bacteria Are The Culprits
We all have bacteria in our mouths, and that’s natural and normal. Some of those bacteria combine with our saliva to produce a thin, sticky film called dental plaque. Plaque forms on the gum line around the teeth which keeps those bacteria in close contact with the gums and the tooth enamel.
The bacteria in plaque feed off the sugars in our diet and produce acid that irritates the gums and begins to eat away at the enamel. In response to the irritation, the gums become swollen and tender, which may cause them to bleed when you brush or floss. The gums change color from a healthy pink to a dark red or even purple.
This is the first stage of gum disease – gingivitis. Fortunately, plaque is soft when it first forms so it’s easy to loosen and remove it with regular and thorough brushing and flossing. But there are parts of the mouth that can be hard to clean thoroughly, and the plaque that’s not removed begins to cause problems.
That’s where a dental cleaning and examination come in. The cleaning will remove every trace of plaque from your mouth, and Dr. McMahon’s examination will detect the tiniest problems so they can be treated quickly and easily.
Things Get Serious
Left untreated, the plaque hardens into a substance called tartar, or dental calculus. Tartar is even harder than your tooth enamel, so you can’t possibly brush or floss it away. When tartar forms the acid production goes into overdrive. The gums pull away from the teeth, and the plaque and tartar begin to extend below the gum line. Pockets of infection can form beneath the gums and the more delicate parts of the tooth – those covered by dentin rather than enamel – are affected. You may experience chronic bad breath that nothing seems to help/
When the infection moves inside the tooth, it usually causes severe pain. The tooth roots and the bone that supports them deteriorate, and the tooth loosens and eventually falls out.
It’s Not Just Teeth And Gums
Chronic untreated gum disease has been linked with a number of serious health conditions, and the number keeps growing.
- Heart disease
- Lung problems
- Poor diabetes control
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premature birth and low birth weight
- Various forms of cancer
And many others.
For the sake of your teeth and your health, don’t let gum disease in any stage go untreated. Dr. Kevin McMahon at Edgewood Dental Care in Edgewood, KY offers effective and gentle gum disease treatment. Contact our office today at 859-474-7830 for an appointment.