What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease can be caused and influenced by a number of different factors, including genetics, medications, and hormones. Generally speaking, however, gum disease is most commonly caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar, which can occur when a patient does not brush and floss frequently and effectively enough.
When plaque is not cleaned from the teeth and gums properly, the acids in the plaque can attack the tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities. Plaque can also turn into tartar. Calcified plaque is much more difficult to remove from the teeth and gums. Tartar can collect underneath the gumline and cause the gums to appear red and puffy and cause discomfort for the patient.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are four stages of gum disease: gingivitis, mild periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and severe periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and it is the only form of gum disease that is completely reversible. If you have gingivitis, you may notice that your gums feel more sensitive, or they may look darker or swollen. In other cases, patients may not notice any new symptoms, in which case they have to be informed by their dentist that gingivitis is beginning to develop.
Treating Gum Disease
Treating the earliest stage of gum disease involves enhancing your at-home oral care routine and visiting your dentist’s office for a professional dental hygiene cleaning. This typically involves brushing the teeth at least twice a day for approximately two minutes. Flossing is also a big part of gum health, and it can actually help to reverse early signs of gum disease. Because plaque can easily collect in between the teeth, flossing thoroughly removes plaque and helps to keep the sides of the teeth clean.
Periodontal Care in Jamaica Plain & Malden
No matter where you are in your oral health journey, our team at Atlantic Dental Partners is here to assist you. We can help you in your efforts to reverse gingivitis or treat and manage your periodontal disease. For more information or to schedule a visit with our team, please contact us!