Gum disease or periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums and break down the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues.
Periodontal disease is classified according to the severity of the diseases.
In the early state of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
In the more advance stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Infected gums can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist.
Factors that increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
• Tobacco smoking or chewing
• Systemic diseases such as diabetes
• Some types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
• Bridges that no longer fit properly
• Crooked teeth
• Fillings that have become defective
If you have any of the following signs of gum disease, contact us immediately:
• Gums that bleed easily
• Red, swollen, tender gums
• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
• Persistent bad breath or bad taste
• Pus between your teeth and gums
• Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
• Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• Any change in the fit of partial dentures
It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs
That is why regular dental checkups and periodontal exams are very important. Treatment methods depend on the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed.
Good oral hygiene at home is essential to keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush regularly, floss, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.