Gum disease is actually the most common disease in the U.S., affecting about 65 million people. This is an amazing statistic considering how much you probably hear about heart disease and diabetes, which are actually both connected to gum disease. The gums are so important that there is an entire field of study concerned with keeping them healthy: periodontics. Dr. Yelena Obholz, your dentist in Washington, DC, wants you to know a little more about your gums so you can help protect them from this potentially serious condition.
What Is Gum Disease?
Much of dentistry is concerned with keeping your teeth healthy, but the gums are just as important when it comes to your oral health. They do two very important things: One, they protect the sensitive enamel around your teeth’s roots, and two, they bring essential blood flow to the area. Just like your teeth, the buildup of plaque and bacteria can eventually lead to the breakdown of the gum tissue. This is what we call gum disease. Some common signs are:
- Red, swollen, or puffy gums
- Gums that bleed frequently
- Receding gums
- Pockets and bumps along the gum line.
These are all signs that your gums have become infected. Gum disease starts very subtly, but can eventually impact your mouth’s health dramatically. It is actually the leading cause of tooth loss in patients over 35. This is why examining them is a very important part of your regular check-ups.
Of course, whenever you start showing signs of gum disease, it needs to be treated quickly. The team at Aesthetic & Family Dentistry of Washington have various methods to provide you with effective gum disease treatment in Washington, DC.
Mild to moderate gum disease, known as gingivitis, can typically be treated with more diligent oral hygiene at home, along with more routine dental cleanings. This will stop it from progressing to a more serious condition called periodontitis. To treat this, it will involve more specialized care.
This usually involves a set of procedures known as scaling and root planing. Scaling uses specialized tools to break up and clean off the bacteria, plaque, and tartar that is irritating your gums. Afterwards, root planing involves smoothing your roots’ rough surfaces so that it’s less likely bacteria will accumulate there in the future. Dr. Obholz may then prescribe or apply anti-biotics to further treat the infection. If it is advanced enough, however, she will refer you to a gum disease specialist, known as a periodontist, who may need to perform a surgical procedure to remove the infected tissue.
Want To Know More?
Most of the time, simply being aware of the gums is enough to get people to start cleaning them while they brush their teeth. This is one of the most important things you can do to not only keep your gums healthy, but your entire body as well.
If you’d like to know more about how to treat, spot, and prevent gum disease, please give us a call today.