Gum disease can be very serious. It can lead to many problems and a lot of pain, while also making life very uncomfortable. This is why it is very important to keep your gums healthy, and one way to do this is to visit Dr. Patrick Morrissey at Boones Ferry Dental for preventive gum therapy.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease starts out with plaque, that sticky film that covers your teeth. Plaque can be removed by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. However, if plaque has the chance to accumulate, it hardens into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed simply with brushing — it has to be removed by your hygienist.
Bacteria thrives and multiplies in tartar. To fight infection from bacteria, your body makes new blood vessels in your gums. This is why you may notice that your gums look red and swollen. This bacteria irritates your gums, and this is why your gums bleed easily at this early stage of gum disease, which is called gingivitis.
If you do not visit Boones Ferry Dental twice a year to have your teeth cleaned, your gum disease can worsen from gingivitis to periodontitis, which is much more serious. At this stage, “pockets” have formed as the inner layer of the gums begins to pull away from the teeth. Your gums become infected as debris and bacteria collect in these pockets.
This bacteria begins to produce toxins, which erode the tissue, the exposed root and the bone that holds your teeth in place. The more bacteria there is, the more toxins are produced and the more bone and tissue erode. When the bone and tissue wear down enough, teeth become loose and fall out.
Who Is at Risk for Gum Disease?
If you do not keep good daily oral hygiene habits, your risk for gum disease increases. However, there are some other factors that may increase your risk of gum disease. You may have an increased risk of gum disease if:
- It runs in your family
- You have high stress levels
- You clench or grind your teeth
- You have diabetes
- You are pregnant
- You smoke or use other tobacco products
This is why it is so important to take care of your teeth and gums and to make sure that you visit our dentist twice a year for care. It is also important to inform our dentist and team of any changes in your medical history and medications.
What Is Preventive Gum Therapy?
When you do come into Boones Ferry Dental, Dr. Morrissey and his team will do all they can to help you prevent gum disease. During your visit, the hygienist will give your teeth a thorough cleaning and polishing, and he or she will floss your teeth as well. This will remove plaque and tartar. Dr. Morrissey will examine your teeth and gums for any signs of gum disease, and he will also be able to advise you on how you can brush and floss your teeth more effectively. We may also advise you not to brush or floss too hard, which can damage gums, and educate you on better techniques. If you smoke, are pregnant, or have a health problem such as diabetes, we may advise you to come in for a visit more often than twice a year.
If you are worried you might have gum disease, or if you just need a good teeth cleaning, call 503-699-6699 and make an appointment to receive preventive gum therapy in Lake Oswego, Oregon.