Did you know that about half of Americans age 30 and older have periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Periodontal disease is caused by untreated plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth and gums. The bacteria in dental plaque is enough to irritate your gums and cause them to bleed more easily. Fortunately, our dentists can help protect your smile from periodontal disease with scaling and root planing. While gum disease can be cured in its early stages by good oral hygiene and professional teeth cleanings, the same can’t be said of periodontitis (the advanced form of gum disease). Periodontal disease deteriorates the bone structure supporting your teeth and causes your gums to recede, putting you at higher risk for tooth loss. In this blog post, we'll go over how our dentists can slow the progression of periodontal disease so that you can regain good oral health. For more information on periodontal treatment, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our dentists. Know the Signs of Gum Disease The best way to treat gum disease is to catch it in its early stages. Unfortunately, many people are unaware they have gum disease until the next time they see their dentist. Symptoms of gum disease include: \tTender or swollen gums \tBleeding gums \tReceding gums \tLoose teeth \tPerpetual bad breath Dental checkups are so important because they give our dentists the chance to diagnose gum disease before it develops into periodontitis. Keep in mind that some people may be asymptomatic, meaning that they show no symptoms of gum disease until it’s too late. Adopt a Thorough Oral Hygiene Routine One of the main causes of gum disease is not following a healthy oral hygiene routine. If you have recently been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you’ll need to make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily. Using a fluoride mouth rinse after brushing and flossing is also a great way to keep bacteria at bay. The best way to slow down the progression of periodontal disease is to remove dental plaque from the surface of your teeth and gums. You’ll also want to make sure you see one of our dentists every 6 months for a dental exam and teeth cleaning. Depending on the severity of your case, our dentists may find it necessary to schedule dental appointments more frequently to account for gum disease treatment. Quit Smoking It’s no secret that smoking can cause oral complications, amongst other health issues. One thing smoking can do is greatly increase a person’s risk for gum disease. In short, the act of smoking affects the function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes those who smoke more sensitive to related infections, like periodontal disease, and can make the process of wound healing slow. Our dentists encourage all patients to refrain from smoking as it leads to many unwanted consequences. If you want to prevent the onset of gum disease or want to reverse it altogether, the first step is to stop smoking. Schedule an Appointment for Scaling and Root Planing If you have periodontal disease, you’ll notice your gums starting to pull away from your teeth. Receding gums deepen the pockets around your teeth and get filled with dental plaque. Thankfully, our dentists can remove dental plaque above and below the gum line through a procedure called scaling and root planing. During this procedure, our dentists will also smooth out tooth roots so gums have a better chance of reattaching to teeth. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with periodontal disease, we recommend you set up an appointment for scaling and root planing as soon as possible. Our Dentists Can Help Our scaling and root planing dentists in Hudsonville, MI, are dedicated to helping patients regain good oral health after being diagnosed with gum disease. If you would like to schedule an appointment for gum disease treatment, call Hudsonville Dental at (616) 209-4024. This blog post has been updated.