When it comes to your dental health, it's not just about keeping your teeth clean - you also have to take care of your gums. Dr. Thomas Williams of Dedicated Dental Services serving Old Tappan, Sparkill, Tappan, Blauvelt, Piermont, Nyack, South Nyack, Palisades, Norwood and Orangeburg, NY, has offered some information about gum disease so that his patients can be more educated about this common oral condition.
What is gum disease?
As you probably know, when plaque builds up on the surface of the teeth, cavities can occur. The same bacteria in plaque can also affect the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. This tissue, called gingiva, responds to the bacterial buildup by becoming red, inflamed, and painful. Mild gum disease is called gingivitis; it is extremely common, affecting about half of adults in America. If gingivitis progresses before seeking treatment from your dentist, it can become periodontitis. This is the severe form of gum disease and can cause gum recession, bleeding, bad breath, and even tooth loss.
How is gum disease treated?
It's encouraging to know that gum disease, even when severe, can often be treated very effectively. Your Old Tappan, Sparkill, Tappan, Blauvelt, Piermont, Nyack, South Nyack, Palisades, Norwood and Orangeburg dentist will evaluate your condition and make recommendations based on what you need. Many people respond well to a treatment called scaling and root planing; tartar is removed from the area below the gum line using a hand-held tool. Medicated mouthwash can also make a big difference in fighting the bacteria and helping to heal the gums. Surgical procedures to encourage new tissue growth may be necessary to get periodontitis under control.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Since gum disease often starts in places that your toothbrush can't reach, your dentist reminds all his patients to floss daily. Flossing is an excellent way to ensure that you break up the bacterial colonies that form between the teeth and keep those areas clean. Mouthwash can also help with maintenance; talk to your dentist about the best types to use. Quitting smoking or using other tobacco products is also imperative; the chemicals in tobacco exacerbate the symptoms of gum disease.
If you think you might have gum disease, or for any other dental-related issues, contact the office of Dr. Williams serving Old Tappan, Sparkill, Tappan, Blauvelt, Piermont, Nyack, South Nyack, Palisades, Norwood and Orangeburg, NY today!