You probably don't think much about your gums, but did you know that they are an essential foundation for your healthy smile? Along with your jawbone, your gums support your teeth, and if you suffer from gum disease, your smile could be at risk.
Since September is National Gum Care Month, Dr. Belle and his team hope to increase awareness about gum health by educating patients about gum disease in North Tampa. Here's what you should know so you can protect your healthy smile.
What Is Gum Disease?
When you cannot remove plaque sufficiently daily, it builds up and could cause your gums to separate from your teeth, creating pockets that allow bacteria below the gumline. When this happens, it causes an infection of your gums and eventually the bone that supports your teeth. If you don't successfully manage gum disease, it will ultimately result in tooth loss. Gum disease is actually the number one cause of tooth loss in American adults.
How Do We Treat Gum Disease?
Gum disease is difficult to diagnose on your own since there aren't many symptoms or even pain at first. This is why preventive visits to your dentist every six months are so important. Your North Tampa dentist can detect gum disease even earlier than you can, and you have a better chance of effectively treating and even possibly reversing gum disease the earlier you start.
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Some patients notice chronic bad breath, bleeding gums during brushing and flossing, or swollen and irritated gums if they suffer from gingivitis.
You may be able to manage and sometimes reverse your gingivitis with a professional cleaning with your dental hygienist and changes to your home care routine.
Advanced gum disease is known as periodontitis. In this stage, a deeper cleaning that reaches below the gumline will help remove bacteria and hardened plaque called calculus. Your dentist may also recommend antibiotic therapy to combat periodontitis. However, surgery may be the best solution for severe cases of gum disease.
Protect your smile today and call us at (813) 968-5368 if you notice any symptoms of gingivitis or if it's time to schedule your next dental cleaning. Dr. Belle is proud to serve patients in North Tampa, Lake Magdalene, Hamlet, Brentwood, Carrollwood, and the Lutz area.