It's not all about your teeth. Your gum play a vital role in your oral health, too, supporting and nourishing your teeth, keeping your jawbone strong and impacting your overall well-being. Unfortunately, gum disease affects millions of Americans, and some people aren't aware of its symptoms. Are you? At the Smile Shack in Zanesville, OH, Dr. Jeffrey Labishak is the family dentist to turn to for preventive gum check-ups and precise periodontal care.
More than a little blood
Do you see blood in the bathroom sink when you brush your teeth? This is a sign of gum disease, or periodontitis, as dentists call the inflammatory, bacteria-driven condition which, when neglected, destroys gum tissue and underlying bone. Starting as milder gingivitis, gum disease often goes unnoticed by young and old alike. However, your family dentist at The Smile Shack in Zanesville detects signs such as:
- Reddened, swollen, bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Mobile, shifting teeth
- Changes in the fit of a partial denture or in dental bite
- Pus at the gum line
- Recession of the gums and underlying bone
While most people have less serious forms of periodontitis, about 10 to 15 percent develop chronic and destructive gum disease, says Dear Doctor magazine. This periodontal condition often leads to tooth and bone loss and can impact systemic health with:
- Memory problems
- Cardiovascular disease (hypertension, heart attack, and stroke)
- Kidney and liver issues
Preventing gum disease
Dr. Labishak and his team recommend several strategies in the battle against this devastating oral health problem. The first is consistent oral hygiene at home, including twice a day brushing and once a day flossing to remove the plaque which harbors disease-causing bacteria.
Another is a healthy diet which limits sugars and increases protein, calcium, and fiber. Water helps clean teeth and gums, washing away food particles and increasing anti-bacterial saliva.
In addition, anyone who smokes should stop as tobacco users have twice the chance of developing gum disease, says the Center for Disease Control. See your primary care doctor for help with smoking cessation.
Finally, children, teens, and adults should see Dr. Labishak twice yearly for complete oral exams and cleanings. Your hygienist carefully scales your interdental spaces and the gum line to remove plaque and hard tartar. Also, she measures periodontal pockets, the spaces between your teeth and gums. Pockets deeper than three millimeters are typical of gum disease. This painless diagnostic measure helps your dentist determine the state of your gingival health.
Treating gum disease
For mild gingivitis, most people respond to disciplined oral hygiene at home. For more advanced cases, Dr. Labishak will advise a deep cleaning at The Smile Shack. Serious gum disease may need treatment with laser gum therapy, antibiotics or surgical gum grafting. Your dentist individualizes care plans based on his findings.
Enjoy excellent gum health when you use simple preventive measures. If it's time for your six-month visit to The Smile Shack in Zanesville, OH, call the office today at (740) 454-4112.