Gum Disease Treatment - How to Choose the Best

By: Jason Jantzi

Gum disease is a growing problem in the United States and Canada. As many as eight percent of us are afflicted by it -- and not just the elderly members of our population. Today even teenagers are developing it.

But what exactly is gum disease, and what should you do about it?

Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two most common form of gum disease. Gingivitis is most notable for causing the gums to start bleeding. Periodontitis on the other hand represents significant damage caused to the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth.

In short, gingivitis makes your gums sore and bleed; periodontitis can cause your teeth to fall out. Neither one sounds pleasant.

But we all brush our teeth, right? So where does gum disease come from?

Well, the main causes of gum disease are bacteria and plaque in the mouth. Plaque is made up of bacteria and mucus and various other particles that form a sticky coating that hardens onto the teeth. In addition to contributing to gum disease, these plaque deposits are a direct cause of mouth odor.

How do you get rid of plaque? Brushing helps, but really only regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove plaque effectively.

How do you know if you have gum disease?

Watch for these symptoms:

- Bad breath that just won't go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Render or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth

If any of these symptoms are present, you should consult a dentist right away.

How do you treat gum disease?

Well, the good news is that gum disease can be cured, though it may re-cur throughout your life. Oral mouth cleansers and medicated toothpaste are the easiest forms of treatment.

In more serious cases, root canal surgery, scaling or grafting may need to be performed in order to address the effects of gum disease before the disease itself is cured.

What should you do if you think you might have some of these symptoms?

Manage your symptoms and treatment results carefully and systematically. Keep a journal of any symptom of gum disease that you may encounter. For instance, the first time you notice your gums bleeding or identify teeth that are sensitive, make a note in a journal. Then on a regular (daily or weekly) basis keep track of any changes in symptoms.

Having an ongoing journal gives you an objective and precise history of when and how conditions on your gums have developed. This will be invaluable information when you visit a dentist. Then, be sure to make an appointment with a dentist and get it checked out.

Once a course of treatment has been prescribed for you, keep another journal in which you describe the results. Have the symptoms gone away? Are they better? Worse? Have the gums stopped bleeding? Are your teeth more or less sensitive?

Setting up journals like the ones described here is easy to do. You can use a paper worksheet, a computer word processing program, or even a spreadsheet program like Excel.

You owe it to yourself to take an active role in managing your own health. Gum disease can seriously affect the quality of your life, and you need to use every tool at your disposal to make sure you get the best dental care possible.

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