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Around half of the adults in the United States have gum disease. However, you may not even know you have it since in its earliest stages, gum disease can be painless. However, as the disease progresses, you may notice that your gums have turned from pink to red, and have started to swell or feel tender. Your gums may bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. You may start to notice that your gums are receding, or pulling back from your teeth. Chronic bad breath and loose teeth may also accompany gum disease.

Gum disease is serious business. If it is not treated, it can lead to lost teeth and damage to your jaw. In addition, gum disease has been linked to other health issues as well, including heart disease and complications for diabetes.

Of all of the causes of gum disease, the most common cause is the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. Plaque builds up when you fail to brush and floss properly and don’t see your dentist for your regular appointments. As plaque builds up, and hardens into tartar, your gums begin to swell. That allows plaque to reach below the gumline where your toothbrush can’t get to it. As it accumulates, it can allow an infection to set in.

As noted above, the best way to combat plaque and gum disease is to brush twice a day, floss at least once a day; and to see your dentist so that he can thoroughly clean your teeth and check for the signs of gum disease.

Sometimes, gum disease can be addressed by a better oral hygiene regimen. Medication may be needed, or if the condition is serious enough, surgery might be necessary. If your gum disease is still in the early stages, your dentist may be able to solve the problem with a deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing. This is a two-step procedure. The first step, scaling, involves the dentist removing the plaque from your teeth above and below the gumline. In the second step, root planing, the dentist will smooth and clean the roots of your teeth. This step may require a local anesthetic.

If you are concerned about gum disease, or if it is time for your regular dental appointment, call 925-736-4201 today to schedule a visit to RK Dentistry in Danville, California. Dr. Richard J. Koeltl will be happy to see you!