If you’ve ever visited the dentist, your dentist or hygienist may have brought up the risks associated with gum disease, but what is gum disease? Let’s take a look.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a progressive oral condition which begins with a build-up of bacteria in the mouth.
Gingivitis – Gum disease begins with a condition called gingivitis; inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria and plaque build-up. Symptoms of gingivitis include sensitive gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is reversible at this stage, with no permanent damage to the bone structure.
Periodontitis – Periodontitis is full blown gum disease that progresses from gingivitis. Between the teeth and the inner layer of gum tissue/bone, pockets begin to form which start to pull away from the teeth. These pockets also give way to more bacteria and become susceptible to infection. The toxin byproducts produced by the bacteria put a strain on the body’s immune system as well, while they work on breaking down the integrity of your teeth. Once this happens, you’re at risk of losing teeth. Periodontitis is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.
What is Gum Disease? – Other Contributing Factors
Poor oral health and plaque build-up are the main contributing factors leading to gum disease, however, there are other factors that can be involved, including:
- Hormonal Changes – Such as those involved in pregnancy, menopause, and sometimes menstruation, can contribute to higher risks for developing gingivitis, which can lead to periodontitis.
- Certain Medications
- Family History
- Certain Diseases or Illnesses – Such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancer and HIV
It’s important to see your dentist on a regular basis for cleanings to help prevent the development of full blown gum disease. To schedule an appointment with our office, call or fill out our contact form.