What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the inflammation that results from buildup of bacteria in plaque between your teeth and along the gum line. There are two primary kinds of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Generally, gum disease begins with gingivitis and progresses to periodontitis if left untreated.
Gum disease can start out as a minor irritation, but it can eventually destroy the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. Studies have even shown that infections in the mouth can adversely affect your heart health. Gingivitis, being the earlier stage of gum disease, isn’t characterized by any permanent damage to teeth or gums and can be treated or even sometimes reversed with early intervention, regular checkups, and frequent cleanings. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is more complicated, as it does lead to permanent tooth or bone loss.
It is difficult to restore proper function and the youthful appearance of your smile once bone deterioration or tooth loss have begun. So, instead of allowing gum disease to progress to its more damaging forms, you’re much better off seeking early treatment. It is most effective to treat gum disease with deep cleanings.
How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease is often linked to patients who have poor dental hygiene habits, use tobacco or alcohol, or have a genetic history with the disease. That said, periodontal disease can still be detrimental for men and women of any age, so it is important to look for the following symptoms of gum disease:
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth or tooth loss
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
- Bright red gums
- Swelling or bleeding when brushing or flossing
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