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How Regular General Dentistry Visits Can Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease is a common problem. Many people experience bleeding gums, one of the first signs of early gum disease. Even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly, harmful plaque can remain. A dentist can remove the plaque that you are unable to.
Causes of gum disease
Plaque is the main culprit of gum disease. This is a sticky substance that is made of bacteria. The plaque must be removed every day through regular brushing and flossing of the teeth. If a patient does not remove plaque, it will begin to irritate the gums. The gum tissue will gradually become inflamed.
Over time, this irritated gum tissue can begin to separate from the teeth. It will form spaces, known as pockets. These pockets allow bacteria to move in and further irritate the gums. If this is not treated, the irritation can cause the teeth to loosen from the sockets. In the early stages of gum disease, a patient’s gums may be swollen and bleed easily. This is known as gingivitis.
Preventing gum disease
To prevent gum disease a patient should visit a general dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. The dentist will be able to look for any early signs of gum disease. The dentist can check the color and firmness of the gums. If the gums are red or inflamed, a patient may be showing signs of gingivitis.
A dentist can use a periodontal probe to gently measure the space between the gums and the teeth. This helps the dentist determine if there are pockets. Normally, the amount of space should be 3 mm or less. A dentist will also be able to instruct a patient on the right way to clean the teeth.
However, even when the patient cleans the teeth regularly, the patient may not be able to remove all the plaque. Over time, this plaque can harden and become a rough material known as calculus or tartar. Calculus cannot be removed at home. This is why regular cleaning at the dentist’s office is so important.
The American Dental Association recommends that patients go to the dentist at least once a year. However, patients with a history of gum disease should go to the dentist more often. This can help prevent the disease from worsening or reoccurring.
Advanced gum disease
A general dentist can also treat advanced gum disease and prevent it from worsening. One treatment is scaling and root planing (SRP). The dentist will scrape away tartar from the surfaces of the teeth and the roots. Smoothing the roots will prevent bacteria from building up again.
Visit a dentist today
Sensitive gums are one of the first signs of gum disease. Other signs include gums that bleed while brushing or flossing, persistent bad breath and gums pulling away from the teeth. If you are experiencing any of these problems, you should contact your dentist. The earlier your gum disease is treated, the fewer side effects you will have.
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