Posted December 13, 2013
As you swish your tongue over your teeth, do you feel a sticky or gritty substance? If so, you may have plaque, which is full of bacteria. If left untreated, plaque can lead to the development of gum disease (also called periodontal disease), and may result in tooth and bone loss. For years, dentists have treated gum disease by scaling and root surface debridement, but now many dental professionals are employing laser gum surgery to reverse damage.
According to study reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of American adults ages 30 and older have periodontitis, a more advanced form of periodontal disease.
Gum disease in an advanced stage can result in significant damage to gum tissues, teeth and the jaw bones that serve as the foundation for teeth, especially if people delay treatment. Individuals who lose teeth may experience problems eating and talking. Researchers also have discovered that periodontal disease is associated with other chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. During laser gum surgery, only the diseased tissue is removed. Healthy bone is left intact and stimulated by the laser, helping to keep it a viable support structure for tooth roots.
Gum Disease Prevention
WebMD offers these tips for preventing gum disease:
- Brush teeth two times daily, in the morning and before bedtime; brush all tooth surfaces, including the tongue
- Use an antiseptic, fluoride or anti-plaque mouthwash
- Floss once each day; move the floss up and down several times on all tooth surfaces and under the gum line to remove plaque
- Schedule regular appointments for dental checkups and cleanings
For details about periodontal disease, review this fact sheet provided by the American Academy of Periodontology.