Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, affects many people from all walks of life. It is estimated that more than 80% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of gingival inflammation or infection and most people are not aware of it. Symptoms can range from mild gum irritation and swelling to serious damage to the gums and even the jaw bones. If not treated, gum disease can worsen and spread, making it vital to practice preventative care and control infections before they become severe.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The human mouth is filled with bacteria. These bacteria often feed off of food particles left behind in a person’s mouth, and the result is a sticky plaque that clings to the teeth. Plaque is usually removed through brushing and flossing, but it is common to miss the plaque in some crevices. Once it hardens, plaque becomes tartar also known as calculus and can only be removed by special dental equipment during a hygiene appointment. Even in its hardened state, tartar can harbor many bacteria, and these bacteria can cause gum inflammation called gingivitis. If allowed to progress untreated, gingivitis will worsen and become periodontitis, which causes the gums to recede from the base of the tooth. Pockets are created which may lead to abscesses. The receding gum line also contributes to rapid tooth decay and bone deterioration. Ultimately, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and bone loss from the jaw.
Treating Gum Disease
Fortunately, gum disease is a slow process that responds well to treatment. Gingivitis can be reversed completely through routine teeth cleanings and daily dental care. Advanced gum disease can be effectively treated and controlled, and solutions can be found for tooth loss often associated with periodontitis.
More often than not, gum disease does not cause any pain and patients do not even know they have a gum problem, so regular dental hygiene visits are essential for oral health. If you are currently experiencing gum swelling, halitosis or other symptoms of advanced gum disease, it is important to meet with a dentist before more permanent damage occurs. You can contact us to make an appointment for a dental exam and to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about maintaining the well-being of your teeth and gums.
A periodic dental checkup is necessary during the first stages of gum problems, to avoid them getting worse. Contact us at 203.255.7771.