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For most people, paying attention to their smile mainly involves caring for their teeth. Having healthy gums are not usually on their radar. But gum disease (or periodontal disease) is actually one of the biggest factors in adult tooth loss, and while you shouldn’t ignore this condition, you may not even be aware that you have it unless you see your dentist regularly. Because gum disease can be painless, it can be spotted by the following signs: swollen or red, tender gums, bleeding gums, loose teeth, persistent bad breath and receding gums.

So how does gum disease arise? A sticky, bacterial film known as plaque forms every day in your mouth and is the main culprit behind gum disease. This is the reason why you want to brush and floss every day–to remove plaque and prevent it from hardening. Once plaque hardens, you will need to have it professionally removed by one of our dentist, Dr. Rebecca Barfield.

Preventing periodontal degeneration can be as easy as detecting it early, and at this stage, it is normally reversible. This is why you don’t want to miss your scheduled dental visits. In the early stages, treatment includes stepping up your oral hygiene routine–brushing at least twice each day and flossing at least once–followed by a professional dental cleaning.

Treating more advanced gum disease depends on how far the degeneration has gone. For advanced gum disease, you may need more frequent professional dental cleanings, improved at-home oral hygiene, antibiotic treatment, scaling and root planing (deep cleanings), or gum surgery to help overcome this condition.

As you can see, your healthy smile comes with healthy teeth and gums. Just care for your gums like you do your teeth and your smile will be confident for years to come. To schedule a visit with our dedicated team, please call 501.228.6360 today. At Jolly Family Dentistry in Little Rock, Arkansas, Dr. Rebecca Barfield is here to help you achieve a confident, healthy smile!