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Around half of the adults in the United States have gum disease, but because it is often painless, many people are not aware of it. If left unchecked, minor gum disease, called gingivitis can become a more serious disease called periodontitis. If gum disease is not addressed, it can lead to tooth loss, loss of bone in the jaw, and health issues in other parts of your body.

The symptoms of gum disease include red gums (healthy gums are pink), gums that are swollen, tender, and that bleed when brushing and flossing. If your gums are receding, your teeth are loose or sensitive or you have bad breath, you may have gum disease.

The most common cause of gum disease is a buildup of plaque on your teeth. Your gums respond to plaque by swelling, which can created spaces and pockets between your teeth and gums. More plaque forms in those spaces, worsening the condition.

The sooner gum disease is caught, the easier it is to treat. One way to treat gum disease in the early stages is by scaling and root planing. This process is usually done in two appointments. In scaling, the dentist will use an instrument or an ultrasonic device to remove the plaque above and below the gumline. In the second visit, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic before using an instrument to smooth out the roots of the tooth so that they can re-attach themselves to the jawbone.

The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss before going to bed. Regular appointments with your dentist for routine cleanings and exams will help fight plaque and will give him a chance to look for the signs of gum disease.

If you are concerned about gum disease, of it is time for your cleaning and exam, our dentist, Dr. Mark Folks will be happy to see you. To make an appointment at Family Dental Associates in Miami, Oklahoma give us a call at 918-542-3337.