Have you ever heard of gingivitis? It seems that most commercials about toothbrushes or toothpaste mention gingivitis, but they rarely mention why it’s important to stop it. Well, it’s time to find out! Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, or periodontal disease, an infection of the gums that can cause everything from irritation and redness, to lost teeth and blood clots. In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Dr. Postol cares about the dental health of Ballwin, MO residents, so here’s some information on what gum disease is and how to prevent it.
Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
Before you read any further, begin forming a mental checklist while you answer these questions:
- How often do you floss?
- Do you make an effort to brush your gum line?
- Do your gums ever bleed?
- Are your gums puffy and red?
- Do you have any pain or irritation in the gums while brushing or eating?
- Are you teeth abnormally sensitive?
- Have you noticed any receding gums (your teeth will look longer)?
- Do you constantly feel fatigued, even when you are well-rested and healthy?
- Do you have bad breath that won’t go away?
- Do you have a bad taste in your mouth?
- Do any of your teeth feel loose or wiggle?
The first two items on the list are risk factors. If you don’t floss or brush your gum line, you are much more likely to develop gum disease. Items 3-5 are signs of gingivitis and the rest are symptoms of advanced gum disease, or periodontitis. If you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms, you need to see Dr. Postol as soon as possible, because more than your dental health may be at risk. That being said, Ballwin, MO residents should be advised gum disease can still develop with any symptoms.
How Gum Disease Works
Bacteria get into your mouth every time you eat. It only takes 20 minutes before they have formed plaque and will begin producing acids that eat away at enamel and irritate gums. If they are able to get under the gum line, bacteria will form pockets and begin to separate teeth from gums, all the while spreading the infection to nearby teeth and gums. In addition to compromising teeth and their support structure, gum disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream and form clots, which severely increase your risk of heart attack.
How to Protect Yourself from Gum Disease
What’s the easiest way to keep gum disease at bay? Floss! When it comes to gum disease, flossing is even more important than brushing, because it gets rid of the plaque that is most likely to infiltrate gums. If you maintain good dental hygiene, gingivitis usually goes away on its own. However, Dr. Postol will perform a thorough inspection after each of your cleanings to make sure that your gums safe. Even if you have advanced gum disease, all of us at St. Louis Dentistry will do everything in our power to help restore your oral health. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and gum inspection, give us a call today!