|Gums are made of soft tissue and
they surround the bottom portion of your teeth. Gum disease, or periodontal
disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Chronic gum disease
may contribute to the development of heart disease. Taking care of your
gums is just as important as taking care of your teeth.
There are three stages of gum disease:
||What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that is caused by bacteria
in plaque, a sticky film that collects on teeth and gums. Plaque can build
and the bacteria can also infect the bone that supports the teeth. Gum
disease can cause gums to pull away from the teeth. This can form pockets
between the teeth and gums in which germs can become trapped. This causes
the bone around the teeth to become weak, and the teeth to become loose,
or fall out.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is inflammation
of the gums caused by plaque buildup at the gumline. The plaque irritates
the gums causing gingivitis. There may be some bleeding during brushing
and flossing. Damage can be reversed at this stage since the bone and tissue
that support the teeth have not yet been affected.
Periodontitis is the stage in which the bone that supports the
tooth are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below
the gumline, which traps food and plaque. There may also be some early
bone loss around the teeth. Proper dental treatment can prevent further
Advanced Periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease in which
the bone is destroyed. This can cause the teeth to loosen or fall out.
It may be necessary to remove the teeth.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease (gum disease)?
The most common symptoms include:
-Red, swollen, tender gums
-Bleeding while brushing and/or flossing
-Gums that pull away from teeth
-Loose or separating teeth
-Persistent bad breath
-Dentures that no longer fit
-Pus between the teeth and gums
-Change in bite and jaw alignment
Each person may experience periodontal symptoms differently.
How is gum disease treated?
The early stages of gum disease may be reversed with proper brushing
and flossing that help keep plaque from building up. A professional cleaning
by your dentist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and
hardened. The dentist will clean the teeth to remove the plaque above and
below the gumline. If your condition is more serious, a root planing may
be necessary. Root planing helps to smooth root irregularities making it
more difficult for plaque to build up. Early stage gum disease can be prevented
or treated by scheduling regular checkups. If your condition is advanced,
your dentist can determine the necessary treatment.
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