Posted on 12/17/2015 by Implant & Periodontal Associates NW
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, refers to an infection of the gum tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. There are three main stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. If left untreated gum disease will lead to damage of not only the gum tissue, but also of the tooth itself, as well as the fibers and bone that hold the tooth in place ultimately leading to tooth loss.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults today. Gum disease is the result of the buildup of plaque, a sticky and thick bacterial substance constantly developing on our teeth.
Risk Factors Related to Gum Disease
The following risk factors increase one's odds of developing periodontal gum disease.
Genetics. Some individuals are predisposed to having unhealthy teeth and gums despite their every effort to maintain excellent oral hygiene to prevent dental issues.
Pregnancy. The surge of hormones and increase of blood flow often leads to dental issues during pregnancy.
Tobacco use of any kind, this includes smoking and chewing tobacco, significantly increases one's risk of developing periodontal gum disease.
Teeth that are difficult to properly care for due to their possible crooked positioning are at an increased risk for developing gum disease.
Medications. Certain medications taken daily such as anti-depressants, oral contraceptives and blood pressure medication all increase one's risk of developing periodontal gum disease.
Potential Warning Signs
Some potential warning signs indicating that you could have developed or might be developing gum disease include:
Swollen, red and tender gums
Gums that bleed very easily during brushing, flossing or even eating
Teeth (of the permanent kind) that are loosening or shifting
Gums that appear as if they have pulled back or seceded from the tooth
Persistent bad breath
If you suspect that you might have gum disease, see your dental provider immediately. The sooner you treat the disease the better as the effects of early gum disease, or gingivitis, are reversible.
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