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When you think of oral health or dentistry, you probably think of teeth. Most people do, and that is part of the problem. We tend to ignore our gums. Maybe they are a little discolored, or even puffy, but we see bright white teeth and everything looks fine. Maybe there’s a little blood when brushing, but that’s normal – isn’t it? In reality bleeding, discolored, or swollen gums are the most common (and often the only) visible signs of gum disease.
Gum disease is an insidious condition. It is usually painless, especially in the early stages and the visible symptoms are deceptively mild. However, what you don’t see can hurt you. Below the gum line, out of sight, bacteria is multiplying, attacking the gum tissue, pulling it away from the teeth, and eventually attacking the bone. Without treatment, it can cause tooth damage, and eventually, tooth loss. Research has shown that untreated gum disease is also associated a number of systemic health conditions.
Good oral hygiene is imperative for gum disease prevention. It’s important to brush at least twice every day, and floss at least once. It is equally important to take your time and be thorough, cleaning all surfaces, all of the way to the gum line. It should take at least two or three minutes to brush your teeth. If you finish in 30 seconds, you are leaving plaque behind. Hygienist cleanings every six months help by removing any accumulated tartar that escaped your brush and floss.
Does this mean that everyone with gum disease brought it on himself or herself with poor hygiene? No! Poor hygiene is a major factor, but not the only one. Nutritional deficiency, compromised immunity, lack of saliva flow, medications, exposure to harmful bacteria, and even genetics can play a role. The best news in gum disease is that it can be treated at any stage. If it has reached the advanced stages, irreversible damage may have already occurred, but we can control it before it does more harm. If it is detected in the early stage (gingivitis), it can be stopped before reaches the bone. During your regular dental visits, we will perform a complete oral examination to detect any signs of disease or decay early.
Isn’t it time for a checkup? Call us at (267) 463-2777 and schedule an appointment. Our office is conveniently located at 7052-56 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, 19135.
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