Enjoying Better Dental Checkups

What Can You Do To Slow Or Stop Your Gum Disease?

The advent of fluoridated public water supplies, along with more education about the importance of dental health, has helped improve the overall health of Americans' teeth. Unfortunately, there's still plenty of room for improvement—the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates that about half of all American adults over the age of 30 suffer from some stage of periodontal disease. In particular, the gum disease gingivitis can increase the risk of tooth loss later in life and has even been linked to heart disease and other serious medical conditions.

If you've recently been diagnosed with gingivitis, it's not too late to improve your oral health. By sticking to some healthy habits and visiting your periodontist regularly, you can regain the gums you had before your diagnosis. Learn more about slowing, stopping, or even reversing the advancement of gingivitis.

What Causes Gingivitis? 

Gingivitis is a disease that causes chronic gum inflammation and swelling. Because the gums are swollen, they're more likely to bleed when you brush or floss, and these small cuts and contusions can cause even more inflammation. Because the inflamed gums can vary in size from day to day (or even hour to hour), advanced gingivitis can often result in loose teeth that may begin to fall out. And if the gingivitis isn't resolved before tooth loss begins, the patient may find it hard to adapt to dental bridges or dentures. 

Not only can red, swollen gums and tooth loss be damaging to one's appearance and self-esteem, but they can also cause other health problems. Gum disease and heart disease have been linked, with researchers continuing to probe the connections between these two important parts of the body. And because the mouth is populated by potentially harmful bacteria, including staph and strep, small cuts and abrasions in the gums can serve as a direct pathway to the bloodstream, increasing one's risk for endocarditis and other heart and circulatory infections.

How Can You Treat Gingivitis?

If you visit a periodontist to treat your gingivitis, you'll be given some tips and tricks to improve your gum health, as well as a special toothpaste and, in some cases, medications to reduce your risk of complications while treatment progresses. Increasing your consumption of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals can boost your immune system, as can carefully brushing and flossing at least twice per day. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you'll be encouraged to quit, as nicotine can significantly decrease blood flow to the gum tissues. You may also want to consider switching to an anti-inflammatory diet during your treatment, as this will reduce the overall level of histamines in your body and improve inflammation.