May 22, 2017
Preventive dentistry involves more than your teeth. The health of your gums and the other soft tissues of the mouth are very important as well. Dr. James Olsen educates all his patients on the signs and prevention of gum disease in Ann Arbor so their oral health thrives. Would you like to know more about this common condition?
Signs of Periodontal Disease
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, afflicts half the adult population in the US over the age of 30, says the Centers for Disease Control. It varies from mild gingivitis to necrotizing (destructive) periodontal disease.
While the individual who has mild gum disease may not always recognize it, your dentist and dental hygienist readily observe the signs when they perform oral examinations. Plus, as the condition worsens, the symptoms escalate and become more obvious.
Your dental team may observe:
- Pus at the gum line
- Deep gum pockets measuring more than three millimeters
- Dental sensitivity
- Changes in the fit of a denture
- Exposed tooth roots
Left untreated, periodontal disease leads to gum and bone recession. As supporting tissues deteriorate, teeth loosen and may require extraction.
Additionally, the American Academy of Periodontology sees direct associations between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, dementia and other serious health conditions. Your gum health truly affects your entire body.
Dr. Olsen and his staff employ tooth scaling and root planing to deep clean accumulated plaque and tartar from tooth surfaces and below the gum line. Plaque and tartar build up from the food we eat. Along with the oral bacteria it contains, this biofilm causes the destructive inflammation characteristic of gum disease. Manual deep cleaning at your dentist’s office works well to restore diseased gums to full health.
For more complex cases, Dr. Olsen uses a soft tissue laser, an innovative way to clean and debride infected gums with no cutting, bleeding or suturing. Additional periodontal therapy includes instillation of antibiotics.
Of course, the best treatment for gum disease is preventing it. Patients may do this by:
- Stopping smoking as tobacco usage degrades gum tissue and underlying bone
- Drinking plenty of water every day to wash oral surfaces and stimulate saliva production
- Brushing twice a day and flossing daily to remove plaque
- Eating a healthy diet, low in carbohydrates and high in lean protein, calcium and fiber
- Getting dental exams and cleanings twice a year with Dr. Olsen
Unfortunately, some individuals struggle more with gum problems than others do. They may be cancer patients or have weak immune systems. Pregnant and menopausal women get gum disease more easily, too, and sometimes, it simply runs in families. These patients may need more frequent dental cleanings to keep their gums healthy.
Why Not Learn More about Gum Disease?
When you see Dr. Olsen for your six-month check-up, ask what more you can do to recognize and combat gum disease. Your smile and your systemic health will be the better for it. Please the office team today to arrange your appointment.
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