Healthy gums vs gingivitis in Gambrills and Crofton, MD: What should I watch for? How can I avoid it?
Your gums play an important role in the health and appearance of your smile, as well as your overall health. These soft tissues support your teeth. They also protect the teeth and bone, and function as a barrier against infection. Gum disease can threaten the health of your gums and, in turn, the health of your teeth. However, as Dr. Vickii Bingham-Lester’s answers to your FAQs show, gum disease is highly preventable with visits to Bingham-Lester Dentistry in Gambrills, MD, serving Crofton and the Greater Annapolis area.
What do healthy gums look like (vs. gingivitis)?
Everyone has a different “baseline.” Your gums may naturally be pinker or redder than others’ gums. Generally, gum tissue is a shade of pink. Gums that are redder than your “normal” may be a sign of inflammation. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a progressive condition. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is characterized by inflamed gums. Tissue may also look swollen.
What do gums with gum disease feel like?
Gum disease in its earliest stages may have no symptoms. So, your gums may feel normal. Your gums may, however, feel tender when you touch them. As gum disease progresses, the likelihood of developing worrisome or disruptive symptoms increase. You may also notice blood on your toothbrush or floss thread when you clean your teeth.
How can I avoid gum disease?
There are several risk factors for periodontal disease; inconsistent or inadequate oral hygiene is the most prominent risk. You may also be vulnerable to developing gum problems if you:
- Smoke or use other tobacco products
- Have a poor diet, high in sugars and low in beneficial nutrients
- Take any one or a combination of medications associated with dry mouth or other challenges to gum health
- Have comorbidities that interfere with your body’s immune system; for instance, poorly controlled diabetes
Genetics and age-related changes are also risk factors. We help you to manage those risks that are controllable. Our team provides tailored oral care techniques and oral care products to enhance the effectiveness of your home hygiene. Home care is complemented by cleanings by our professionals. These cleanings are typically scheduled every six months during your regular check-up. However, if you are at increased risk of oral problems, we may recommend more frequent check-ups to monitor the health of your gums and teeth.
Can my gums heal on their own?
No. If active disease is present, it will continue to progress. Untreated gingivitis becomes an advanced form of the disease: periodontitis. Advanced gum disease erodes the attachments between the gums and teeth. It is the leading cause of tooth loss, alongside tooth decay. Additionally, numerous studies have linked periodontitis to a range of systemic health problems, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately, gingivitis can be resolved quickly with modifications to oral hygiene. We can even reverse the symptoms of gum disease if it is detected and dealt with early in the disease process.
Keep smiling with proactive gum care at Bingham-Lester Dentistry. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.