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June 15, 2015
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 One of the most common dental issues you hear about is gum disease. It's in advertisements, your dentist talks about it, and you may know someone who has had to deal with it. But what causes it, and what can you do to prevent it?

Gum disease is primarily created because of plaque. If the plaque is not removed, calculus is formed (no, not the form of math). This is also known as tartar, and you see a lot of toothpastes touting “Tartar Control.” This is what they mean.

Tartar can irritate your gums by harboring toxins, which can weaken the fibers in your gums. Weakened gums mean the tartar can release even more toxins deeper into the gum tissue. Bacteria continue to work its way down, creating even more issues. Specifically, the tartar can cause enough damage that the tooth needs to be removed.  

How do you know if there is an issue? Are your gums swollen or sensitive to touch? Maybe your gums consistently bleed when you're brushing or flossing, or you feel that your breath is bad on a regular basis.   These are all bad signs, and you should see your dentist as soon as you can.

So you have gum disease. It's alright! If you catch it early, or if you see your dentist regularly, it's largely treatable. It’s treated by scaling and root planning, which is a technique that strips away the plaque from around the tooth and root. You may also be prescribed antibiotics.

If the gum disease is very advanced, you may require minor dental surgery. The gums may be opened in order to clear away the plaque that is deeper near the root.

And guess how you prevent this scenario? You guessed it, daily brushing and flossing. Professional cleanings from your dentist every 6 months also helps immensely. Your eating habits can also have an impact, so avoid an excessive amount of sugary drinks and foods that are difficult to clean off your teeth (chips, breads, gummy treats, etc.).


Dr. John Olsen

Dr. John Olsen

For over 24 years, Dr. John has been successfully restoring the smiles and improving the lives of people in the Milwaukee area with his expert knowledge and attention to detail.

Dr. John strives for excellence and holds a number of impressive titles including:

  • Diplomat in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI)

  • Mastership in Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) & Regional Director

  • Induction into the International College of Dentists

  • Certified with American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE)


He frequently is invited to speak and teach workshops around the country to help spread his expert knowledge in the dental fields. Additionally, he regularly attends trainings and workshops to continue his own education.


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