27 Sep 2018 Can Gum Disease Be Reversed?
It’s time to face the truth about gum disease—no one wants it but most of us in Holladay and the greater Salt Lake City area have it. By the time we reach our 30’s and 40’s, most people in Utah and across the US will have some form of gum disease (periodontal disease). It can even start younger. Teenagers have even been known to have some form of this disease. Your dentist can diagnose it at your regular checkup. So once you know you have it, can it be reversed? Your choices will greatly impact what happens in your mouth. Your choices will stop gum disease, slow gum disease, or cause it to get worse, with the worst case scenario being that you lose teeth.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria and food particles combining forces to form plaque. When plaque stays on your teeth it can harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar left on your teeth cause gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include red and swollen gums that ache and bleed easily. Gingivitis not treated leads to periodontitis, a more serious gum disease. Periodontitis is inflammation around each tooth. Gums will pull away from teeth leaving pockets that easily trap bacteria and plaque causing infections. Sometimes teeth become loose and fall out. You don’t want this, especially because it is so easily prevented.
How do I know if I have it?
A dentist can tell you if you have it or not. Common symptoms of mild gum disease (gingivitis) include the following:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Receding gum lines
- Painful chewing
What can I do to prevent gum disease from happening?
Sometimes the answer is so simple that no one wants to do it. In fact, you may already know what the answer is:
- Brush at least twice a day
- Floss daily—it gets food and plaque out from between your teeth and exercises your gums.
- Use an antibacterial mouth rinse.
- Avoid plaque-causing sugary foods.
- Don’t smoke.
If I already have gum disease, can I reverse it?
The answer is yes! Mild gum disease like gingivitis can be completely reversed. Your gums can look and feel healthy again. This may surprise you but it can happen in a few weeks. Yes, your gum disease can be reversed in as little as a few weeks. Unfortunately, if you have periodontitis, it can be improved but not reversed. Don’t let it get that far!
If I have periodontitis, how do I treat it?
Daily brushing and floss is the best thing you can do to treat this more severe gum disease. You can also get some deep cleaning treatments done by your dentist. Scaling and root planing are two treatments that clean tartar off your teeth above and below the gum line. They also remove rough spots on your teeth that can trap bacteria. Dentists can also prescribe antibiotics to heal infections or even prevent new ones. Antibiotics could be oral, in a mouth rinse, as a chip, or a gel.
If your gums are aching or bleeding, start brushing and flossing. Then come into Holladay Dental and we’ll help you know how to up the care of your mouth.