Gum disease is a bacterial inflammation of the gum line. There are three stages of the disease, including gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. It may not be immediately obvious that you have gum disease because it can be painless. If you have tender or bleeding gums, receding gums or persistent bad breath, you may be developing gum disease.
The mouth is full of bacteria that will gradually form a sticky substance called plaque. Brushing and flossing helps to remove plaque, but it is not possible to remove it all. The plaque that is not removed turns into a hard substance called tartar that can only be removed by a professional cleaning by a dentist or a dental hygienist.
When plaque and tartar are left on the teeth, they begin to cause inflammation of the gums. This is the first stage of gum disease called gingivitis. This stage does not cause any bone loss or tissue loss, and can be cured by daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleanings.
If gingivitis is not treated, it may advance to the next stage called periodontitis special info. This stage has serious inflammation around the teeth, and the gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets. Food may collect in these pockets, so they gradually become infected. When the body fights the infection, it may break down bone and connective tissue. If the gums deteriorate to the point that they do not support the teeth, the periodontitis is advanced and the teeth may need to be removed.
There are several risk factors that may increase your chance of developing gum disease, including:
• Smoking is a major risk factor that is associated with this disease. Smoking may also inhibit your chances of a successful treatment.
• Diabetes is a risk factor because people with diabetes have a higher risk for developing any infection.
• Hormonal changes in women can cause gums to be extra sensitive and more susceptible to gingivitis.
• Some treatments for other diseases, such as cancer, may negatively affect the gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease.
• Any medication that reduces the flow of saliva.
• Genetics also plays a part because some people may be more prone to gum disease than others.
During a consultation with our specialist at Parkwood Dental, you may be asked about your medical history to find any risk factors or underlying conditions that may contribute to gum disease. Our expert will examine your gums for any sign of the disease and check to see if any pockets have developed in your gums.
If you have the beginning signs of gingivitis, you may be able to have healthy gums again with regular and proper brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleanings. If you think you may be developing gum disease, the sooner you get it treated, the less damage it can cause. For your convenience, Parkwood Dental has offices in East Bradenton and West Bradenton. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.