Studies show that gum disease affects more than three-fourths of adults in the United States. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of gum disease is not that it is so widespread, but that it is largely preventable in most cases. In his Polk City dental office, Dr. Ryan Hussong has seen a diverse array of nasty gum disease symptoms, and he offers effective, targeted treatment to thwart the chronic condition and return patients’ good oral health.
All Gum Disease Is Not the Same
All forms of gum disease stem from an infection in the soft tissues of your mouth, but the similarities end there. We categorize and treat gum disease based on the severity and the cause of the infection. For example, some patients are genetically predisposed to gum disease. In other cases, the infection is caused by outside factors, like smoking, or is a side effect of another health condition.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis: Gingivitis is periodontal disease at its mildest. In this stage, you may experience noticeably reddened, swollen gums. Your gums may bleed slightly when you brush your teeth. At this point, you do not necessarily experience discomfort, so you may have no idea that your gums are infected.
Periodontitis: Without treatment, gingivitis can worsen to become periodontitis. Plaque builds up in and under the gum line, and bacteria irritate the sensitive gum tissue. Over time, pockets form between the teeth and gums, so they become increasingly prone to infection. Periodontitis can be further categorized as aggressive, chronic, necrotizing, or related to systemic disease.
Gum Disease Isn’t Always Hygiene-related
Although neglecting the teeth and gums is the most common cause of gingivitis and periodontitis, medical and lifestyle factors can also predispose one to gum disease. Certain lifestyle behaviors can increase your susceptibility to gum disease. These include tobacco use, substance abuse, adopting a non-nutritious diet, and stress. Other causes of gum disease are trickier to eliminate. For example, gum disease is linked to certain medications, aging, genetic factors, hormonal fluctuations, and some immune disorders.
Regardless of the cause of your periodontal disease and symptoms, proper oral hygiene aids in prevention and healing. We recommend twice-yearly cleanings to remove plaque, tartar, and harmful buildup from your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, taking care to angle the head of your toothbrush downward, toward the gum line. Floss once daily to eliminate food particles and bacteria trapped between your teeth. In addition to preventing gingivitis, these simple actions have a positive impact on your breath and the health of your teeth.
Effects of Gum Disease Go Beyond Your Gums
The majority of gum disease symptoms affect the mouth, but severe infections are linked to conditions that affect overall health. Without proper care and intervention, unchecked gum disease can make you more vulnerable to serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and various types of cancer. Healthy teeth and gums play also play an important role in helping you to look and feel your best.
We understand the importance of you feeling confident and comfortable with your smile. Your Polk City IA dentist, Dr. Ryan Hussong, offers a range of treatment options for all stages of gum disease. If you experience any of the symptoms described above, contact us at 515-984-6001. In addition to periodontal therapy, we provide restorative and cosmetic dentistry to patients from Ankeny, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding areas.