Gum disease is an infection of the gums that surround our teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Often times gum disease is painless, you may not even know you have it.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.
Here are some warning signs:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you bite
Some factors that increase the risk of developing
Gum disease is:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Poor oral hygiene
- Crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.
Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis affects 47% of adults over 30 in the United States. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults, but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.
Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.
The best way to prevent gum disease is, flossing once daily, brushing at least twice a day and seeing your dental professionals twice annually. If you suspect you have gum disease, please contact your dentist.