If you had to guess, what would you say the biggest threat to your smile is?

Most patients would answer cavities or other forms of tooth decay. While tooth decay is definitely a threat to your smile, you may be surprised that most dentists don’t believe it’s the most serious health issue facing your smile.

The biggest threat to the health of your teeth actually begins with the health of your gums. If left untreated, gum disease can make your life miserable. Although the early stages of gum disease begin with relatively ignorable symptoms like bleeding gums, the disease can later cause chronic bad breath and actually make your teeth fall out.

But more than just your teeth may be endangered by gum disease. Gum disease has also been linked to other serious and chronic health issues like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Yet millions of Americans allow their gum disease to go untreated. We’d like to change that.

At Plymouth Dentistry in Plymouth, MI, we offer gum disease treatment to help keep your smile and your body healthy. But you may be already suffering from gum disease and not even realize it. So in today’s post of our dental health blog, we’re going to answer a few common questions about gum disease.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a widespread health issue characterized by the accumulation of bacteria like plaque and tartar on and below your gumline. Gum disease begins as gingivitis, a relatively mild condition that may inflame your gums and make them prone to bleeding. As gum disease advances, your gums will actually begin to separate from your teeth. This loosens your teeth, increasing the likelihood of them falling out of your mouth.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Gum disease often begins with absolutely no symptoms. Millions of people are likely suffering from gum disease right now and do not realize it. The American Dental Association recommends undergoing regular dental exams and dental cleanings to detect and treat the early stages of gum disease.

As gum disease progresses, more symptoms may become apparent. You may notice that your gums are red or swollen. Your gums may also bleed easily when you’re brushing or flossing your teeth. Persistent and unexplainable bad breath is also a symptom of gum disease. If you notice that your teeth are beginning to loosen, you should contact a dentist right away because you may be suffering from advanced gum disease.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease and tooth decay have the same cause: plaque. Whenever you eat or drink, particles of food or sugar are left behind on your teeth. These particles attract bacteria that turns into a sticky, acidic film of plaque. Plaque by then hardens into dental tartar. Gum disease is caused when this bacteria penetrates your gumline.

Daily brushing and flossing alone may not be enough to prevent gum disease. It’s simply impossible to remove all the plaque and tartar on your teeth without professional help. That’s why the American Dental Association recommends undergoing a dental cleaning every six months. If it’s been a long time since your last dental cleaning, you may be at a higher risk for gum disease.

How is Gum Disease Treated?

The early stages of gum disease are relatively easy to treat. If detected early enough in the disease’s lifecycle, gum disease can often be treated and reversed with a simple dental cleaning. We may recommend that you undergo a deep cleaning if your gum disease is more serious.

During a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing treatments, we remove plaque and tartar from under your gumline and smooth the roots of your teeth. This treatment often allows your gums to reattach to your teeth. Deep cleanings are a routine treatment performed with local anesthesia to prevent any discomfort. We also offer sedation dentistry if you’re nervous, anxious, or worried about undergoing dental treatment.

Where Can I Get Treated for Gum Disease?

Right here at Plymouth Dentistry! We can provide the gum disease treatment you need to enjoy a healthy smile for the rest of your life. If you’ve notice any potential signs of gum disease like swollen or bleeding gums, or if it’s simply been a long time since your last dentist appointment, we urge you to schedule an appointment at our comfortable and modern office in Plymouth, MI. You can reach our office at (734) 224-4359 or by scheduling your appointment via our online form.