You’ve likely heard the terms
before. The two are inextricably linked, and can spell disaster for not just your oral health, but your overall health and well-being. However, many people are fuzzy on some of the facts of gingivitis and gum disease. A Midtown Miami, FL dentist goes over some of the basics of gum disease in this article.
Generally, gingivitis comes before gum disease. However, the timeline from there can vary. Gingivitis doesn’t always progress to periodontitis, or gum disease. In fact, it’s often reversible, as there is no significant bone or tissue loss at this stage. It would need to be caught early, and you would need to be diligent about your oral care.
Left unchecked, gingivitis can—and usually does—progress to periodontitis. At this stage, the gums start to recede and pull away from the teeth. This creates pockets, which then begin to collect debris. In this case, the term ‘debris’ is a polite/professional term for food particles and plaque. As one can imagine, the combination of plaque (which hardens to tartar) with food particles and the accompanying bacteria is not exactly a good thing. From here, it’s a bit of a downward spiral: the plaque continues to spread in the pockets, where it’s really hard to get with floss or toothbrushes. The pockets deepen, and the gums recede more. Eventually, the bone that holds your teeth in place will deteriorate, leading to tooth movement and, often, tooth loss. Periodontitis has also been linked to a variety of other medical issues, some of which we covered in our last blog.
Now for the good news. Keeping your mouth healthy doesn’t take a lot of work: it really just comes down to forming good habits, breaking bad ones, and staying diligent. Brushing and flossing regularly—and properly—is half the battle here. You’ll also need to be sure to keep up with your dental exams. At home, pay attention to changes in your teeth or mouth. If you notice anything that seems off, such as bad breath, receding gums, bite changes, soreness, or bleeding, contact your dentist. Tobacco use also increases the risk of dental issues. If you smoke, ask your doctor for advice and resources for quitting. Last but not least, stay hydrated!
Are you looking for a great new dentist? Call us, your Midtown Miami, FL dentists, today!