As many may not be aware of, gum disease can start from just a minor inflammation, which can turn to more serious infections. These infections that start from the gums can later affect the mouth, the teeth and the bone that surrounds it. Gum problems can take a toll on your overall dental health. It’s important to recognize the early stages of gum disease before they get worse.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gum diseases come in three stages. Knowing what type of stage your gums are in will help you find the best treatment.
The earliest and the most common stage is Gingivitis. You can tell you have one when there’s an inflammation that’s happening in your gums. However, it’s still best to consult your dentist to confirm this diagnosis.
Gingivitis happens when plaque build-up gets worse in the teeth and gums, producing toxins. These toxins can irritate the gum tissue that causes bleeding of the gums during brushing and flossing.
The good news is that when treated immediately, damages can still be reversed at this stage. Issues only concern the gums and are not yet reflected in the teeth and bones.
However, it is vital to treat your gums at this stage to prevent further infection. Though dental appointments are recommended, you have to do your share in treating gingivitis at home too. Start from religiously committing to your dental hygiene– brush and floss regularly, use only soft-bristled toothbrushes, and choose a mouthwash and toothpaste that’s effective in preventing plaque buildup.
If your gums were not treated during the gingivitis stage, it can lead to more damages causing this stage, the Periodontal disease.
At this phase, the bone and fibers that hold the teeth are now heavily damaged. The inner layer of the gum and bone starts to pull away to the teeth, causing formation of pockets below the gumline. These spaces trap food and plaque in, resulting in serious infections.
Asking your dentist’s help and treatment at this stage is recommended to prevent this problem from worsening.
Advanced Periodontal Disease
When gum problems reach this stage, it is nearly impossible to treat. If you’re in the Advanced Periodontal Disease, the fibers and bone that supports the teeth are now destroyed, making the teeth vulnerable.
Once teeth begin to shift due to the destruction of its foundation, some may become loose in the process. If treatments can’t help, a patient might be advised to remove his teeth due to severe gum damage.
How does one get gum disease?
The number one answer is poor hygiene. Gum disease is caused by a bacteria in the plaque that forms on the teeth. The bacteria is characterized by a sticky, colorless film that sticks to the teeth and can only be removed through frequent and proper cleaning and brushing. However, a few other causes may include:
There are a series of hormonal changes that happen to the human body. It starts from puberty, for women it progresses to menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Such hormonal changes can affect the sensitivity of the gums. During these changes in hormones, there’s higher risks of developing gum problems.
Certain type of illnesses
Some illnesses can also affect the condition of your gums. This may include Cancer or HIV that affects the body’s immune system. Some patients with Diabetes were also reported to have serious cases of gum diseases due to high risks of developing infections.
There are some medications that can make you vulnerable to gum disease. Some drugs can lessen the production and flow of saliva in the mouth which helps in protecting teeth and gums. Other drugs may also cause abnormal growth of the gum tissue. If you think this is the case, ask help from your dentist.
This may not come as a surprise as there’s so many mouth and other health problems that are caused by smoking. Problems caused by smoking make gum disease develop as it slows down the repair of the gum tissue.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Some people fail to recognize gum disease at the early stages because some of its early symptoms can be painless. Some start treating it at the very late stage when pain and damage are more severe. That’s why it’s important to know what these signs are.
You have to go to a dental office and seek help or treatment once these signs develop:
- Bleeding gums after brushing
- Gums that are either red, swollen or tender
- Constant bad breath or bad tastes in the mouth
- Gum recession or when gum pulls away from the teeth
- Teeth that seem loose or are shifting
- Pockets that formed in between the teeth and gums
- Changes on teeth fittings due to shifting
Though common, gum disease is not something that you should take lightly. When it’s possible to treat early stages of gingivitis at home, dental appointments will still be needed to make sure that your gums are treated properly and won’t get worse.
Teeth, gums and overall dental problems are just some of the things we deal with at PV Smiles. Dr. Kiddess, one of the best dentists in Scottsdale, AZ, makes sure her patients get the most out of every visit. If you need immediate help on different dental problems, give us a call or simply schedule an appointment through our website.