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The numbers are staggering: nearly 50 percent of adults age 35 and above have some level of gum disease. That rises to 70 percent of American seniors age 65 and up. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in this country, but gum disease can cost you much more than teeth. Dr. Rick Barfield at 1st in Smiles in Plano, TX offers effective gum disease treatment.

It Starts With Bacteria

We all have colonies of bacteria living in our mouths. That’s natural and normal. Problems arise when some of those bacteria create a thin, sticky film called dental plaque that forms on the gum line around the teeth. Plaque is soft and easily removed by regular and effective brushing and flossing. Left alone, plaque begins to cause problems.

Plaque keeps bacteria in close contact with tooth enamel and gum tissue. The bacteria feed off the sugars in our food and beverages and produce acid. That acid begins to eat away tooth enamel and irritate the gums. In response, gums can change color as they become inflamed; become tender and puffy; and bleed when you brush and floss.

This is the first stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. In almost all cases, gingivitis can be effectively treated by a thorough dental cleaning. However, plaque can harden into something called dental calculus, or tartar. Tartar is harder than your tooth enamel; you can’t possibly remove it through brushing and flossing.

Things Get Really Serious

When gum disease goes untreated, the gums can begin to recede, or pull back from the gums. That opens the tissues below the gum line to dental infection. Pockets of infection can form, and you may develop a foul taste in your mouth or bad breath that nothing can cure. The bacteria attack the more vulnerable structures below the gums, including the tooth roots and even the bone that anchors them. Teeth can become loose and even fall out. The bone can be damaged.

This second stage of gum disease is called periodontitis, and it requires professional help if you’re going to keep your teeth and avoid potentially serious health problems. Chronic gum disease has been linked with heart disease, lung problems, various types of cancer, low birth weight and premature birth, rheumatoid arthritis, and poor diabetes control.

Take Action Now

If you’re noticing any of the signs of gum disease, your first step should be to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rick Barfield at 1st in Smiles in Plano, TX.

Dr. Barfield can stop gum disease through dental procedure known as dental scaling and root planing. Scaling removes plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. Root planing smooths the tooth roots to give bacteria fewer places to take hold.

If needed, Dr. Barfield will also employ Atridox® antibiotic therapy. Atridox is placed directly into infected pockets in the gums. Atridox releases over a period of several days, killing the bacteria and relieving the infection. With all bacteria removed, your gums can heal.

Take gum disease seriously. Get help from 1st In Smiles in Plano, TX. Call 972-380-8105 today for an appointment.