What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease—more commonly known as gum disease—ranges from simple gum inflammation to serious disease symptoms that result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth.

People usually don’t show signs of gum disease until they are in their 30s or 40s. Men are more likely to have gum disease than women. Although teenagers rarely develop periodontal disease, they can develop gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease.

Some of the warning signs of gum disease, include:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing, loose teeth, sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth

Causes of Gum Disease

In most cases gum disease develops when enough plaque builds up along and under the gum line. How does this happen? Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless plaque on teeth. Brushing and flossing helps get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar.

Stages of Gum Disease

  • Gingivitis: The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the greater chance the bacteria have to inflame the gums. With gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen, and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings from your family dentist.
  • Periodontitis: When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis. In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed as a result.

How to Have Amazing Oral Health

Oral health is part of overall good health. Keep up your oral and dental health with regular and thorough oral hygiene habits and regular visits to your family dentist for professional cleanings. And for even better oral health, contact North Washington Dental in our Thornton, CO office to schedule an appointment today!

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