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Your Oral Health

Managing Gum Disease

Gum disease can appear without any warning symptoms, and can be devastating to your oral health. Plus, studies suggest that there is a link between gum disease and the development of other diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Learn the steps you can take to identify, treat and prevent gum disease.

Do you have gum disease?

Have you been diagnosed with gum disease? If so, please read on for information on keeping your gums healthy.  

What is gum disease?  

Also called periodontal disease, it is an infection of your gums and jawbone. Gingivitis is a milder form affecting just your gums. Both can become worse if not properly treated. Gum disease can also be passed on to other family members. Many people don't know they have gum disease, because it can appear without symptoms.  

What causes it?  

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that collect in the pockets around your teeth. These bacteria can damage your gum tissue and jawbone, making your gums pull away from your teeth.  

What can happen to people with gum disease?  

Without treatment, the attachment of the tooth to the bone as well as the bone itself can become damaged. Left untreated, some of your teeth can become loose and eventually fall out. Studies suggest that there may be an association between gum disease and the devepment of other diseases. In addition, pregnant women with gum disease may be more likely to have premature babies. That's why it is so important to protect your gums from gum disease. Let your medical doctor know if you have been diagnosed with gum disease.   

How is it treated?  

First, your dentist will probably give you a deep cleaning. This removes most of the bacteria that is damaging your gums. Your dentist may also give you a medicated mouthrinse like Chlorhexidine to use at home. Some people may need gum surgery. Your treatment will depend on the seriousness of your gum disease and how you've responed to previous treatments.  

What can I do to stay healthy?  

Gum disease can usually be treated successfully. If you have gum disease, here are some suggestions to help keep your gums healthy:  

  • Floss your teeth daily
  • Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Visit your dentist at least every six months for oral exams and cleanings
  • Use any at-home products your dentist recommends such as Chlorhexidine mouthrinse or prescription fluoride toothpaste
  • Do not chew or smoke tobacco