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Dental Care Center

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease starts with bacteria in your mouth. Over time that bacteria can build up. That buildup of bacteria is called plaque. Plaque is the main cause of gum disease.

If you have gum disease, it is important that you talk with your dentist. Gum disease can be serious if it is not treated. Your gums may wear away and your teeth could fall out.

Symptoms of gum disease

Some of the symptoms or signs of gum disease are:

  • Gums that bleed during and after you brush your teeth
  • Tender, red or swollen gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together
  • Gums that pull away from your teeth

There are things you can do to help keep your mouth healthy and prevent gum disease.

Brush and floss your teeth. Taking good care of your teeth is one of the best ways to help keep your mouth healthy. Be sure to brush your teeth 2 times a day and floss at least 1 time a day.

Visit your dentist. It is important to see your dentist for a checkup 1 time every 6 months. Your dentist can catch small problems before they become big ones.

Visit your doctor. It might sound strange, but other diseases can affect the health of your mouth. See your doctor regularly.

Don’t smoke. Smoking is bad for your overall health, including your mouth. Over time, smoking can even cause many different types of cancer. If you smoke and want to stop, talk with your doctor or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Keystone First also has a program to help people stop smoking, call Member Services at 1-800-521-6860 or TTY 1-800-684-5505.

If you think you have gum disease, visit your dentist. It can be treated.