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Gum disease, also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, is a very common condition among adults. However, you may be wondering, “What is it?”, “What are the causes?”, and “Is it preventable?”. In recognition of February’s Gum Disease Awareness Month, we’ll help you brush up on your knowledge of risk factors, symptoms, and prevention so you can take action to protect your smile for years to come!
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that damages, and in some cases destroys, the bone and soft tissue surrounding your teeth. Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and food particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless film known as plaque.
When plaque isn’t removed by brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, it begins to harden and form tartar. Only dental professionals can remove tartar.
The disease can range from a mild stage, called gingivitis, to a more severe stage called periodontitis. As gum disease progresses, gums pull away from teeth, creating pockets. Over time, these pockets can become deeper, and as they fill with bacteria and toxins, gum tissue and bone are eroded.
In most cases, plaque buildup due to poor oral hygiene is the primary culprit. However, there are several other causes and factors you might not know about, including:
Be sure to talk with your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Here are a few ways to prevent gum disease:
If you are experiencing any of the possible warning signs of gum disease mentioned above, be sure to express your concerns during your next preventive check-up. You can also use our “Find a Provider” search tool to find a network dentist. TruAssure’s Max Savings, Choice, and Choice Plus plans for individuals and families offer three cleanings per year, giving you more opportunities to have your dentist screen you for gum disease and practice preventive dental care.
Need a dentist near home, work or your kids' school? With one of the largest networks in the country, we make it easy to find a dentist who fits your location and your schedule.
*All TruAssure dental plans are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the United Concordia, DenteMax and Connection dental networks.
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