According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 50 percent of American adults have periodontal disease. Justin DeGarmo, a dentist at Elizabethtown Dentistry, treats many patients with the condition, as well as its precursor gingivitis, also called gum disease. Dr. Justin DeGarmo believes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is why he is here to explain how gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease and what you can do to prevent it.
Gingivitis is typically caused by poor oral hygiene, Dr. Justin DeGarmo explains. When plaque is not removed from the teeth, it hardens and forms tartar, which can irritate the gum tissue. Plaque also contains bacteria, which further irritate the gums. This irritation prompts an immune response, inflammation, which can cause the gums to become red and bleed. People with gingivitis may also have chronic bad breath or halitosis.
If gingivitis is not addressed, it can progress to periodontal disease. At this stage, bone loss and gum recession can begin to occur. This can result in pockets at the gum line where bacteria and food particles may become trapped. Infection can develop in these pockets as a result. Eventually, the jaw and other tissues holding the teeth in place are damaged and can cause teeth to loosen and shift. With advanced periodontal disease, Dr. Justin DeGarmo says, people often experience severe bleeding, tooth and gum sensitivity, and halitosis. There is also evidence to suggest a link between gum disease and heart conditions, Dr. Justin DeGarmo notes.
Gingivitis | Dr. Justin DeGarmo
In its early stages gingivitis can be treated, Dr. Justin DeGarmo says. Treatment usually involves a strong oral hygiene regimen, including regular teeth cleanings. The dentist may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or reducing alcohol or sugar consumption. Once it has progressed to periodontal disease, it becomes more difficult to treat, Dr. Justin DeGarmo says. Depending on the extent of the damage and other factors, a dentist may recommend antibiotics, scaling and root planing, or gum grafting. If teeth are lost, implants, bridges, or dentures may be options for replacement.
Dr. Justin DeGarmo advises if you think you may have gum disease or periodontal disease, see your dentist as soon as possible. Justin DeGarmo and his staff at Elizabethtown Dentistry are dedicated to helping patients live healthier and happier lives through prevention and treatment for oral health concerns. Visit the Elizabethtown Dentistry website to learn more about how they can help you.