Your mouth contains a balance of healthy bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, poor dental hygiene can cause harmful bacteria to overgrow, resulting in gum disease. Gum/periodontal disease is an inflammatory process of the bone and associated structures around the tooth. Caused by localized bacterial invasion and chronic inflammation, it is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world and one of the most preventable. Often painless, you may not know you have gum disease. Some people only notice after significant bone loss has occurred, an irreversible process, and their teeth become loose, resulting in tooth loss.

Gum disease risk factors:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Hereditary traits
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications (check with your doctor/dentist)
  • Clenching and/or grinding your teeth
  • Poor bite (malocclusion)
  • Mouth breathers
  • Dry mouth

2 Stages of Gum Disease

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Gingivitis happens when plaque, a sticky film containing bacteria, builds up at the base of your teeth. If you experience any of the following symptoms, do not delay treatment.

  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Dark or dusky red gums
  • Gums that bleed or are tender when brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Receding gums

Stage 2: Periodontitis

Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease. If it progresses from gingivitis to periodontist, it will irreversibly damage the bone structures supporting your teeth.

Without regular dental visits, you may not notice symptoms until moderate periodontitis is present.

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Bright or dusky red, purplish gums
  • Tender and/or bleeding gums
  • Blood on your toothbrush and/or floss
  • Pus between your teeth and gums

In addition to damaging the bone structure supporting your teeth, it is important to note that periodontitis is irreversible.

What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Although serious, not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. With treatment and proper oral care, the effects of gingivitis can be reversed. In contrast, periodontitis damage is permanent. Gingivitis is your wake up call.

Gum disease is linked to your overall health

Gums are a direct gateway into your bloodstream and the rest of your body. Science links many conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, to the bacteria found in your mouth. Gum disease therapy can help reduce the risk of those and other related illnesses. 

When to see a dentist

In conclusion, we recommend you see your dentist for a cleaning and checkup twice per year. However, if you notice any of the symptoms of gingivitis, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. And remember, you can prevent gum disease with proper oral health, diet, and regular dental visits. To make an appointment, go to District Dental.

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