Healthy gums, happy smile

Protect your teeth from bacteria and inflammation by maintaining good oral health to prevent gum disease.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is characterized by an infection affecting the tissues and bones supporting your teeth. Gum disease is quite common and treatment can be simple, especially in its early stages.

Know your risks of gum disease

When you have healthy gums, the tissues in your mouth hold your teeth in place. With gum diseases, bacteria and inflammation cause your gum line to recede, exposing your teeth to more bacteria. As gum disease progresses, the tissues and bone are less effective at supporting the teeth, which can result in tooth loss.

Catching gum disease early can prevent future damage to your gum line. If you’re experiencing symptoms of periodontal gum disease, reach out to your Aspen Dental care team today.

The 4 stages of gum disease

1. Healthy gums

The gums, jaw and periodontal ligament hold your teeth together firmly, and there is little-to-no buildup of plaque or tartar.

2. Gingivitis

Bacteria from plaque irritate gums, making them red, sensitive, puffy and likely to bleed. If this plaque is not cleaned, it will likely harden into tartar.

3. Periodontitis

As plaque and tartar continue to build up along the gum line, the gum and bone recede in response. This bone loss is not reversible, but can be stopped before it continues to progress.

4. Advanced Periodontitis

The bone and tissue damage has become so severe that it can no longer hold the teeth in place so that they become loose, fall out, or need to be removed professionally.

Common questions about gum disease

First, check for symptoms. In the early stages of gum disease, you may not notice any. That’s why keeping up with regular cleanings and visits to your local Aspen Dental is so important. Signs to watch for include:

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing

  • Red, puffy, swollen, or tender gums

  • Receding gum lines

  • Lingering and consistent bad breath

  • Pus between your gums and teeth

  • Loose teeth

  • Growing gaps between teeth or a sudden, uneven bite while chewing

  • Your dental equipment no longer fits as it once did

Periodontal disease is a destructive process most commonly caused by bacteria that creates a film on your teeth, eventually making gums red, swollen, and tender. If not cleaned, plaque will harden, becoming tartar that can only be removed with professional dental cleanings.
While anyone can get gum disease, your risk of getting it increases in certain instances, including:

  • Not regularly brushing and flossing your teeth and gums

  • Using tobacco

  • High white blood cell count caused by diseases such as HIV, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes

  • Your age (your risk goes up after age 65)

  • Medications

  • Birth control pills or pregnancy and the resulting hormone changes

  • Genetics

People with heart disease and diabetes are more likely to experience gum disease, as are those who have had a stroke or deal with high amounts of stress. Unfortunately, science has not yet identified the link between these diseases and gum disease, so it’s important to speak with your dentist about any long-term health issues you may have.

How to check for periodontal gum disease

Using a periodontal probe, your dentist or hygienist can gently measure how deep the pockets around each of your teeth are. Healthy teeth have a pocket depth of 3 millimeters or less—so the lower the number, the better your health. As gum disease grows in severity, the pocket becomes deeper, giving bacteria even more access to your teeth, tissues, gums and jaw.

Dental X-rays show you the amount of bone supporting your teeth at any given time. If bone density is reduced in either width or length, this could be a sign that gum disease is taking effect.

Finding a treatment for gum disease

Your Aspen Dental care team can show you the best ways for treating periodontal gum disease in the immediate and long-term future. The good news is, gum disease can be stopped with good habits—and if treated in its early stages.
An Aspen Dental doctor speaks with a patient.

Start your journey to great gum health

Brush, floss and see your care team regularly—it’s all about doing anything to make you smile and more importantly, make you feel healthy. That includes creating an affordable treatment plan that keeps gum disease at bay. Schedule your appointment today.

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