Gum disease affects the structures in the mouth that support the teeth. Even though it is called gum disease it also involves the bone and other tissues too. This disease if typically chronic and progresses over time, however, there is treatment that can limit damage and help keep the mouth healthier.
Many of the factors that put people at risk can be controlled; however, there are still some factors that can’t. Older people tend to have more severe disease because there has been more time for damage to occur. Other risk factors include smoking, poor oral hygiene, having diabetes and other medical conditions, stress, teeth grinding and bite problems, hormone changes, weak immune system, genetics, dry mouth, and medications.
There are several methods of treatment including dental cleanings, medications and surgery. If gum disease is caught early and treated the dentist may be able to reverse some or all of the damage with non-surgical treatment. In very severe cases it may take surgical procedures to save teeth that are in danger of being lost. Any treatment takes a commitment from the patient as well. The patient has to work very hard at home taking care of their teeth and must also maintain regular dental care or the disease can and will return.
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