Gum Disease and Its Prevention
Good oral hygiene is important for many reasons, including the prevention of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque and has three stages.
The first stage is known as gingivitis. If caught early, gingivitis may be reversed with regular and proper brushing and flossing. Symptoms of gingivitis include red and/or tender gums that easily bleed.
The second stage is known as periodontitis—inflammation around the teeth. In this stage, bacterial toxins in plaque break down the gum attachment to teeth. Spaces may form from the gums pulling away from teeth, and these spaces, or pockets, may house infected material.
The third and final stage is known as advanced periodontitis. In this stage, the gum pockets have deepened and the bone that holds teeth in place have become damaged. Symptoms of periodontal disease include bad breath, red and tender gums, receding gums, pain when eating, and loose or sensitive teeth.
There are some factors that may put a person at more risk for developing gingivitis, including chewing tobacco or smoking, female hormonal changes, diabetes, and some medications. And, as many of us have heard before, some foods may contribute to tooth decay, such as soft candies, toffees, and chewing gum.
It’s very important to maintain oral health in order to try and prevent gum disease. In addition to good oral hygiene, you should have your teeth cleaned and checked by a dentist at least once a year.