Many people underestimate the value of healthy gums. The most common reason that people lose teeth is because of gum disease. But if you are faithful in having regular dental care including tooth cleaning, and if you follow basic gum care practices like brushing and flossing, you should be able to prevent most gum disease.
The Progress of Gum Disease
The clinical name is periodontal disease, and it means disease that affects the tissue around (“perio”) your teeth (“dontal”). And it’s an insidious disease. Most people have it to one degree or another, but it is practically symptomless. Without a comprehensive dental examination, people can be totally unaware that they have it until their teeth begin to become loose, at which point it can be too late to save them.
In its simplest form it is called gingivitis—or an inflammation of the gums. The gums may swell up and may tend to bleed more easily. This swelling of the gums may lead to pockets around the teeth.
Let’s illustrate how this occurs. The diagram on the right shows a healthy gingival sulcus. To a certain extent, it provides a hiding place for bacteria. But it isn’t out of the reach of careful brushing and flossing. However, if the gums swell, it will provide a more protected area, called a pocket. Plaque can then accumulate in this pocket and treatment and prevention of gum disease begins in the gingival sulcuscan harden into calculus (tartar), which further protects the bacteria.
If not removed, the toxins produced by the bacteria begin to destroy the tissue supporting the teeth. Over a period of ten or twenty years, the teeth will become loose and may end up needing to be replaced.
Please call or visit our office to make an appointment for a comprehensive examination to determine
if you have gum disease.
Call our office to schedule an appointment today. (757) 425 1828