Causes of Gum Disease
There are several reasons that gum disease develops. The primary causes are plaque and tartar. Anything that becomes stuck between your teeth, gums or under the gum tissue, can cause irritation and swelling. Plaque is a problem that everyone deals with; however, it is the buildup under the gums that really causes issues. There are other risk factors to consider like pregnancy, diabetes, and smoking, since they restrict blood flow to the gums, causing them to swell.
Ways to Prevent Gum Disease
We recommend doing what you can to prevent gum disease so you do not experience discomfort or additional health problems. One of the best ways to prevent this condition is to keep your teeth clean. At Alamo Family Dentistry, we encourage our Simi Valley patients to brush their teeth two to three times a day and to do so in a circular pattern, moving food particles and plaque away from the gums toward the center of the mouth. You also need to floss on a daily basis, and be sure to reach all the way down, rather than stopping at your gum line. Using an antiseptic mouthwash can also help kill lingering bacteria.
You also need to have your teeth cleaned at least twice per year. It is difficult to remove all of the plaque at home, and tartar is too hard to remove by brushing and flossing. We can remove both plaque and tartar in our dental office and reduce your risk of gum disease. Simultaneously, we recommend that you stop smoking, keep your blood sugar under control, and drink plenty of water, since this can also help improve your gum health.
Common Signs of Gum Disease
Some of the most common signs of gum disease are:
- Red and swollen gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing, flossing, or eating anything crunchy
- Teeth that appear to be getting longer, since this is a sign of gum recession
- Loose teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend that you call 805-259-1149 to schedule an examination with our dental office.
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
There are several ways to treat gum disease, and what we recommend will be based on how far the condition has progressed. To start, we typically recommend that our patients have a standard teeth cleaning. If you are only at the beginning stages of the condition, that is likely all you will need to return your gums to good health. However, if the condition has progressed further, you may need a dentist to provide you with the following:
- Periodontal infection therapy. This is a therapy where chemicals are used to slow the growth of gum disease. In this case, your dentist may prescribe the use of an antiseptic mouth rinse, designed to reduce or fight gum disease. Used daily, it can work to kill bacteria.
- Deep cleaning. A deep cleaning is typically conducted in four appointments. Your mouth is broken up into quadrants, with each area being cleaned on a different day. In a deep cleaning, the gums need to be pulled away from the teeth so a dentist can scrape off the plaque and tartar underneath the gum tissue. Naturally, this procedure can cause discomfort, which is why it is completed over multiple visits. However, some dentists use lasers, which can expedite the process.
- Gum grafts. If your gums have receded and too much of your teeth or roots are showing, a gum graft may be necessary to restore the gum tissue back around the teeth. This can be done by suturing tissue from the roof of your mouth to your gums or using tissue from a donor. In both cases, the gums will be secured back around your teeth, like they were prior to you developing gum disease.
- Antibiotics. Very often, your Simi Valley dentist will prescribe antibiotics to be taken in combination with gum therapy. This is done to eliminate any infection that could be lingering.