What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It’s the #1 cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.
Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
- gums that bleed easily
- red, swollen, tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- persistent bad breath or bad taste
- permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- any change in the fit of partial dentures
Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:
- poor oral hygiene
- smoking or chewing tobacco
- crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
- medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
How can gum disease be treated?
Scaling and root planning (SRP)
Scaling removes plaque and tartar above and below the gumline, while planning smoothes out the rough areas of the roots.
Arestin (minocycline HCL) Microspheres, 1 mg
Arestin is a locally administered antibiotic. When indicated, your dental professional places Arestin below your gumline to kill bacteria that (SRP) alone can’t reach.
Good oral hygiene
Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing are essential parts of home care.
See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.