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Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a prevalent condition that Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz frequently encounter. Ranging from mild inflammation (gingivitis) to more severe infections and complications (periodontitis), the severity of gum disease varies.

Beyond impacting the health of your mouth and teeth, gum disease can also affect your overall health, as noted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. An infection originating in the mouth due to gum disease can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Gum disease is recognized as a risk factor for heart disease and can influence blood sugar levels.

Causes and Risk Factors

The primary cause of gum disease is the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. Regular brushing and flossing help eliminate this bacteria, preventing it from turning into plaque. Failure to address this plaque buildup can lead to gum disease.

Common risk factors for gum disease include inadequate oral care, infrequent dental cleanings (at least every six months), hormonal changes, smoking, diabetes development, genetic predisposition to gum disease, and certain medications.

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

There are two primary types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the milder form and is the initial stage, involving gum inflammation due to plaque and tartar on the teeth. Signs of gingivitis include swollen and bleeding gums.

Periodontitis, a more severe form, occurs when the gums recede from the teeth, forming pockets that can harbor infection.

Treatments for Gum Disease

Treatment for gum disease varies based on the cause and severity. Deep cleaning, known as root scaling and planing, is a common method to remove plaque beneath the gum line. Antibiotics may be recommended to address infection or reduce inflammation. In certain cases, surgical procedures like flap surgery and bone and tissue grafts may be necessary.

If you experience symptoms such as bleeding or swollen gums, pockets between your gums and teeth, pain, or other issues, it’s essential to seek an examination at Sindledecker Dentistry to determine the most suitable course of action.

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