Gum (periodontal) disease is the unhealthy inflammation, swelling and even infection of the gums and the surrounding bone. Early stages of gum disease are referred to as “gingivitis” and can be reversed with better brushing, flossing and rinsing at home. If gingivitis is not reversed, it then often advances to the more severe disease called “periodontal disease”. Periodontal disease refers to an advanced, non-reversible gum disease involving bone loss and even tooth loss. Signs to watch for are sore or swollen gums, gums that bleed during flossing or even brushing, foul smell or taste or even wiggly teeth. Chances are that if you see your dental office twice a year or more, they are measuring your gums and keeping a close eye out for signs of gum disease. If it has been a while since your last visit, no worries! We have seen it all and love helping people to get back on track to a healthy smile.
Smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease as a non smoker is. Smoking decreases the ability of your immune system to fight infection and heal. It can dry your mouth out and constricts the blood vessels in your mouth as well. Aside from a higher risk of gum disease, smoking can leave ugly stain and cause bad breath. It is a habit your body would prefer you to quit, and we would be happy to give you some pointers!
For happy, healthy gums, you should brush 2x daily, floss daily, refrain from smoking and see your friendly Elmbrook Family Dental Hygienist twice yearly.