An Overview of Gum Disease

February 3, 2020

gum disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, begins with bacterial infection and gum inflammation that affects the bone surrounding your teeth. This infection, if left untreated, could result in tooth loss.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Bacteria cause plaque to form on teeth, and plaque is a sticky and transparent film that forms on the teeth. When not removed, the bacteria can build up and infect your teeth and gums. Eventually, the bone that supports the gum weakens, and the teeth fall out.

Poor oral hygiene is usually the major cause of plaque buildup. Failing to brush your teeth, floss daily, or visit your dentist regularly causes gum disease. Good oral hygiene is the key to avoiding gum disease.

Other causes of gum diseases include:

  • Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and even menstruation. These changes can make the gums, teeth, and bone sensitive.
  • Illnesses like cancer, diabetes, or HIV that weaken the body’s immune system.  
  • Medication like anticonvulsant medications that tend to lessen production and flow of saliva.
  • Bad habits like smoking damage gum tissues as well.
  • Family history of gum disease may also contribute to the development of gingivitis.

Stages of Gum Disease

At the earliest stage of gum disease, plaque buildup causes gum inflammation. If brushing and flossing fail to remove this buildup, this can cause gingivitis. You may notice bleeding when brushing or flossing. At this stage, any teeth or gum damage can still be reversed.

At the second stage of gum disease, the bones and fiber surrounding your teeth are severely damaged. The gums will then create pockets which then trap food. You will need proper dental treatment to prevent further damage to your gums at this stage.

In the final stage of gum disease, periodontitis, the fibers and bones surrounding the teeth are completely destroyed, which causes the teeth to loosen. This may require aggressive dental treatment or tooth removal.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease can affect all ages; although, it is quite common amongst adults. When detected early, it can be treated and reversed with proper dental treatment. So, how would you know if you are suffering from gum disease? Here are the symptoms:

  • Inflamed, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Loosen teeth
  • Pus around the teeth

Dangers of Gum Disease

Gum disease affects the state of your overall health. Brushing your teeth can help prevent diseases caused by gum disease. Periodontitis actually increases the risk of developing health complications including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, dementia, and stroke. It can also cause problems in pregnancy.

Here’s the good newsbrushing your teeth, flossing them, and visiting your dentist regularly can help prevent gum disease. Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss your teeth properly. Visit your dentist for regular dental cleaning and checkups to protect your teeth against gum disease.