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It probably does not come as a surprise that our mouths are full of bacteria. And, of course, any time there is a small area with a large amount of bacteria, it is susceptible to infection and diseases. The bacteria in our mouths, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing or flossing can help get rid of plaque, but plaque that is not removed can harden and form a substance called tartar that brushing doesn’t clean. If untreated, tartar can lead to gum diseases which can have lasting effects.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

When you suffer from gum disease, you will notice these symptoms:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth

Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem, which should be checked by a dentist. At your dental visit the dentist or hygienist should consider gum disease treatment by:

  • Ask about your medical history to identify underlying conditions or risk factors (such as smoking) that may contribute to gum disease.
  • Examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
  • Use a tiny ruler called a “probe” to check for and measure any pockets. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters. This test for pocket depth is usually painless.

While gum disease can strike anyone, you are more prone to it by not practicing oral hygiene smoking, or taking certain medications. If it is found that you do have gum disease or are at a higher risk for gum complications, know that gum disease treatment does exist and can help improve your condition.

If you believe you have gum disease or want to learn more about prevention, schedule a conference with me, Dr. Maurice Haynes. University Centre Dental Associates serves Washington, D.C., Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County and Bowie and Greenbelt, MD. Call me and my team at 301-302-8395 today.