By Ottawa Smiles Dental
August 13, 2019
Category: Oral Health

Have your gums started to look a bit different? Have you noticed that your teeth don’t feel like they properly fit together when you bite down? Even subtle smile changes like these could be warning signs of gum disease, alerting you that should turn to our Holland, MI, dentist, Dr. Todd Brower, as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about gum disease, its symptoms, and how Dr. Bower can help.

What is gum disease?

Also referred to as periodontal disease, this bacterial infection can evolve from solely affecting the gums to harming both the jawbone and teeth if left untreated. Gum disease isn’t noticeable at first, causing very subtle and often missed changes in your smile; however, as the infection progresses, you may start to notice issues.

What are the different stages of gum disease?

Gum disease ranges from gingivitis (the early stage) to necrotizing periodontitis (the advanced and most serious stage). Gingivitis is usually the mildest form, and it can often be reversed with proper at-home dental care and by turning to our Holland, MI, family dentist every six months for professional dental cleanings. By keeping the gums free from plaque and bacteria, we can prevent gingivitis from turning into full-blown gum disease.

The next stage of gum disease development, chronic periodontitis, is the most common form of the condition and is usually when symptoms start to surface (which we will discuss further below). Adults over the age of 35 are especially at risk of this chronic periodontitis.

The final manifestation, necrotizing periodontitis, is the most serious form of gum disease, as it can destroy ligaments, tissue, bone, and teeth. This condition is more common in those who smoke as well as those who are malnourished or have compromised immune systems.

What are the warning signs?

In the initial stages, the only changes you may notice are red, puffy gums or gums that bleed when you floss/brush. Bleeding gums are a telltale sign that should not go ignored. If gingivitis is not treated, it will lead to receding gums, exposure of tooth roots (which often leads to sudden tooth sensitivity), loose teeth, and eventually, tooth loss. A dental professional should evaluate any of these symptoms no matter how minor they may seem.

How can I protect myself against gum disease?

Gum disease might be scary, but it is 100% preventable with proper care. Along with visiting your dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups (which also include gum disease screenings), you should also be brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. Eating a smile-friendly diet can also reduce your risk for gum disease.

Concerned? Give us a call

Is it time to schedule your six-month dental cleaning? If so, call Ottawa Smiles Dental in Holland, MI, today at (616) 399-3600 to book your next visit. These simple cleanings could protect your gums and teeth from cavities and gum disease!

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