At Lifetime Family Dental, we know you want a beautiful smile. You’ve heard us stress the importance of avoiding gum disease in order to maintain that smile. But what is gum disease, and how does it develop? By answering these questions and explaining the different types of disease, we hope to give you all the information you need in order to avoid gum disease entirely. That way, your smile can continue to be gorgeous for many years to come.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is inflammation of the gums. The bacteria that sit on your teeth and create plaque are the culprits behind its growth. Without proper prevention care, several types of gum disease can develop.
Types of Gum Disease
The bacteria that form plaque secrete a toxin that irritates the gums. The longer that bacteria is allowed to sit on your teeth, the more damage it can cause. The beginning stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which if untreated, can advance to periodontitis. If both these conditions are ignored, you may eventually experience tooth loss or other significant health problems.
- *Gingivitis: This is the milder version of gum disease that can go unnoticed, since a person with gingivitis may not feel pain or discomfort. Gingivitis is usually caused by lack of proper oral health care. Other aspects that could increase the risk of gingivitis include inadequate nutrition, stress, aging, smoking, diabetes, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication usage. Symptoms of this stage include red gums, swelling, and gums that bleed easily. Treatment of gingivitis is positive, since it can be reversed through professional care from your dentist and good oral home care.
- *Periodontitis: Untreated gingivitis leads to the more advanced stage of gum disease, which is periodontitis. Periodontitis happens when plaque and tartar build up on the surface of the tooth located below your gum line. The result is irritation, inflammation, and gum infection. Gums affected by periodontitis begin to pull away from the tooth, allowing bacteria and food particles to go deeper into the gum line around the teeth. Greater levels of bacteria in your gums can begin to affect the jaw bone and cause it to weaken. The end result may be tooth loss from weakening of the bone that holds the teeth. Periodontitis involves several stages that are based on the length of time the gum disease has gone untreated.
The best line of defense to prevent gum disease is developing a good home oral care routine, and scheduling regular biannual dental cleaning visits with your dentist. For more information regarding gum disease, contact Lifetime Family Dental today.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/11/2017) 古 天熱 (Flickr)