Most people don’t appreciate how important healthy gums are to your oral health.
Periodontal disease, a.k.a. gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in the US. In other words, you need to take care of your gums if you want to keep your teeth.
George A. Hoop, DDS, and the rest of our dental team work every day to help patients in and around Naples and Fort Myers, FL maintain their healthy smiles. As part of that effort, we want to spend a little time today reviewing the warning signs of gum disease and reminding you what you should be doing to protect your teeth.
Learning the Signs
Do you remember when you were learning to drive? In addition to how to drive a car or truck, you also had to learn the meaning of various signs and signals. Those signs let you know what you could and should do.
When it comes to oral health, it’s equally important to know the signs of potential problems so you can move in the right direction.
Healthy gums feel firm to the touch and appear pink, and they do not bleed when you brush or floss your teeth.
If your gums feel swollen, look redder than usual, or bleed while you brush or floss, then you are likely to have gingivitis. This is a mild form of gum disease. The good news is that periodontal problems can be easily treated at this stage.
On the other hand, if you ignore these early signs, then you are likely to develop periodontitis, which is the advanced form of gum disease. Coincidentally, the Centers for Disease Control estimate that nearly half of Americans 30 years old or older have some form of periodontitis.
You should plan to visit one of our locations as soon as you are able if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Bad breath that does not go away
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Separation between your gums and your teeth (receding gums)
- Gums that feel sore or tender
- Loose teeth or changes in how your teeth fit together
If you are experiencing one or more of these problems, please seek treatment as early as you can. It is possible to eliminate periodontitis, and the earlier you seek treatment, the more effective it is.
What You Can Do
The best thing you can do is having a good oral hygiene routine. This means brushing and flossing every day. (A recent survey by the ADA showed the less than half of all Americans actually floss daily.)
You also should have regular professional dental cleanings and exams. We can see your mouth from angles that you can’t. As a result, we can remove plaque and tartar buildup, and we will be looking for any signs of gum disease.
We would much rather catch these problems before they rob you of your smile. Early treatment is less invasive and less expensive.
Specially Qualified to Help
By coming to Dr. Hoop’s office, you’ll also be treated by someone with a deep understanding of the potential effects of gum disease. Dr. Hoop worked as a periodontist, a specialist in gum health, before he decided to open a general dental practice.
For the healthiest mouth possible, keep up your daily oral hygiene habits and visit us a couple time every year. If you suspect that you may have gum disease, contact us online or call 239-734-7737 today to set up an appointment.
Help us help you keep smiling!