Getting Long In The Tooth?
“Long in the tooth” is an ancient folk expression that originally was used in reference to a horse’s age, because horses’ teeth appear to get longer as their gums recede. This age-related phenomenon is not limited to horses, of course. Not only do our gums tend to recede as we get older, but poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease are also linked to “gingival recession” (receding gums). “Periodontitis,” which means “inflammation around the tooth,” damages the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, gums will continue to recede, and the risk of tooth loss will rise. With this in mind, it’s important to take notice of bleeding gums while brushing your teeth, the first symptom of “gingivitis.”
What causes gum disease? After devoting many years to research, scientists and dental professionals have found that different forms of oral bacteria are to blame, including Streptococcus mutans. Gum disease develops when this bacteria accumulates. You know it as plaque, the clear and sticky film that you see and feel when it builds up on and between your teeth and gums.
When you develop gum disease, you probably won’t exhibit any symptoms at first. However, as gum disease worsens over time, you will experience swollen, tender and/or bleeding gums. An unpleasant taste in your mouth is also likely. As the disease progresses, other symptoms can include receding gums, loose teeth, and mouth sores.
How serious can gum disease be? An infection can do a lot more damage than just cause inflamed gums, it can destroy the structures that support your teeth – tendons, ligaments, and bone. Ultimately, tooth loss will occur. Scientific research also supports a strong link between gum disease and other serious systemic medical conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, oral cancer, some cancers, and even Alzheimer’s.
If you’re showing signs of gum disease, give us a call right away. We will complete a thorough exam of your teeth and gums, plaque level, bone structure, and check for risk factors. If there’s anything you should be doing differently to keep your smile healthy, we’ll let you know exactly what that is.
For excellence in dental care from a compassionate staff committed to your comfort, well-being, and sunny smile, call Batavia Family Dental for an appointment. Those looking for preventive dental care or gum disease treatment in Batavia, NY are always welcome at our full-service, state-of-the-art dental office, located at 6 Batavia City Centre. Please contact us today. We accept most insurances.
Yours in excellent dental health,
Dr. Steve Sokolovskiy, Batavia Family Dental
P.S. Good oral health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental checkups can help prevent and reverse gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease.