Gum Disease

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That Sounds Bad

Periodontal Disease, also known as gum disease or gingivitis, is the disease process the that start with bacterial growth in the nooks and crevices of your mouth and may end with the loss of a tooth/or teeth due to destruction of the vital periodontal tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth. Dr DiGiulio, a Bend dentist, is an expert at diagnosing and treating all types of gum disease. Please call 541.389.2885 for more help.

The Differences Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

Gum inflammation often precedes periodontitis ( or gum disease). But, one should know that not all gingivitis advances to periodontitis.

In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in groupings called plaque are formed. The bacteria-laden plaque creates an inflammatory environment in the gum tissue. A sign of gum inflammation is gum bleeding that occurs with brushing. Despite this inflammation, the teeth remain securely rooted in their bony sockets.

If untreated, the gum inflammation can progress to a more severe condition called periodontitis. In a person with periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and bacteria. This creates the perfect environment for an infection to take place.

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Nothing has changed..After Every Meal

Harmful by-products are produced by the bacteria in plaque and break down the bone and connective tissue that hold our teeth in place. As the  periodontal disease progresses, the pockets enlarge and more tissue and bone are destroyed. As this occurs,  the teeth are no longer anchored in place. They become loose and can fall out.  Gum/Periodontal disease is the number one  cause of tooth loss in adults. Dr DiGiulio, a Bend dentist, is an expert at diagnosing and treating all types of gum disease. Please call 541.389.2885 for more help.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Plaque is the primary cause. But, other factors are involved. These include:

  • Hormonal changes like pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and  menstruation, can make gums more sensitive and inflamed which helps gingivitis to develop.
  • Chronic Medical Conditions may affect the over all health of your gingiva. This includes cancer and HIV that compromise the immune system. Diabetic patients are also a higher risk for periodontal disease. This is especially true for those individuals who do not have good control of their blood sugar levels. Bacteria consume sugar, the more you have to offer them, the more they can grow and multiply.
  • Medicines can affect  oral health. Many prescription medications can cause chronic dry mouth. Saliva protects our teeth and gums, and its absence can accelerate gum disease.  Certain drugs, such as the anti-seizure  medication Dilantin and cardiac drugs like Procardia and Adalat, can cause abnormal growth, also called hypertrophy, of gum tissue.
  • Smoking inhibits gum tissue’s ability to repair itself.
  • Poor oral hygiene regimen such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis enables gingivitis to develop.
  • Family history of dental disease can be a contributing factor for the development of gingivitis.
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Ancient History


The Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease can develop painlessly and with out symptoms, even in the later stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, these symptoms may indicate that you have a gum problem:

Red, swollen, or tender gums

  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures.

Dr DiGiulio, a Bend dentist, is an expert at diagnosing and treating all types of gum disease. Please call 541.389.2885 for more help.

Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

How Does a dentist Diagnose Gum Disease?

During a dental exam, Dr DiGiulio checks for these things:

  • Bleeding, swelling, firmness, and pockets (the space between the gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
  • Excessive tooth movement,sensitivity, and improper tooth alignment

Gum Disease Treatment

The goals of periodontal treatment are to promote the reattachment of healthy gingiva to teeth; reduce pain and swelling, the depth of pockets, and the risk of infection; and to stop disease progression. Options range from non-surgical options that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues.


Gum/Periodontal disease can be reversed in nearly all clinical situations if  proper plaque control is instituted. Dr DiGiulio recommends professional cleanings at least twice a year and daily brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing eliminates plaque from all of the surfaces of the teeth. REMEMBER a toothbrush only reaches 3 out of 5 tooth surfaces. Not flossing is like taking a shower but not washing your face. Flossing removes food particles and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line.  Other health and lifestyle changes that will decrease the risk, severity, and speed of gum disease development include:

  • Quit smoking. Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for periodontitis. Smokers are 7-10 times more likely to get gum disease than nonsmokers, and smoking can lower the chances of success of some treatments.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition helps your immune system fight infection. Eating foods with antioxidant properties like those containing vitamin E or vitamin C (vitamin E-containing foods include vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables; vitamin C-containing foods include citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes) can help your body repair damaged tissue.
  • Avoid clenching and grinding. These bad habits put excessive force on the supporting tissues of the teeth which increases the rapidity at which these tissues are destroyed.

The American Academy of Periodontology states that up to 35% of the Americans may have a genetic predisposition to gum disease. And those patients  that are up to seven times more likely to develop gum disease during their life time. If any of your first degree relatives have gum disease, you could be at greater risk too. If you are at a higher risk for gum disease, she may recommend more frequent check-ups, cleanings, and treatments to better manage the condition. Dr DiGiulio, a Bend family dentist, is an expert at diagnosing and treating all types of gum disease. Please call 541.389.2885 for more help.

Is Gum Disease Linked to Other Health Problems?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), scientists have discovered potential links between periodontal disease and other serious health conditions. The CDC says these micro-organisms are associated with stroke and heart disease. Diabetes is not only a risk factor for gum disease, but gum disease can make diabetes worse.

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