Periodontics is the area of dentistry that's concerned with the care and treatment of the gums, and its primary focus is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, or gum disease. In the U.S., gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.
The human mouth contains a lot of bacteria, which are necessary for the initial stages of digestion. Some bacteria can cause tooth decay if they're allowed to multiply. Bacteria like to lodge on sticky plaque at or beneath the gum line where they multiply rapidly. A bacteria grow, they release a toxin that causes gums to slowly pull away from teeth, or recede. Left unchecked, bacterial growth continues to the tooth roots, eventually causing teeth to become loose and fall out.
The best way to learn if you have gum disease is to see your dentist regularly. Especially in its earliest stages, gum disease causes few if any symptoms, and many men and women don't know they have periodontal disease until the disease is in advanced stages. Some of the symptoms of gum disease include:
Brush and floss your teeth after meals, use mouthwash and see the dentist for regular checkups twice a year. Ask your hygienist to show you the proper way to brush and floss so you can be sure you're removing as much plaque and bacteria as possible. Finally, avoid sugary snacks – the bacteria that causes gum disease thrives on sugars.
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