Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. It occurs when the gums become infected due to the buildup of bacteria on the teeth. Eventually, it can destroy the bone that supports the teeth if it is left untreated.
Taking care of your teeth and getting periodontal treatment if needed are key to tackling this condition. Read on for more information about why gum disease happens and how you can stop it.
How Does Gum Disease Develop?
Gum disease can develop as a result of plaque and tartar on your teeth – usually due to poor oral hygiene. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms naturally when you eat or drink. If plaque is left on the teeth, it can harden and turn into tartar – a yellowish or brown buildup that can form above and below the gum line.
Daily brushing and flossing can help to prevent this from occurring. However, that alone is not enough. Regular in-office dental cleanings are also needed to get rid of buildup that you cannot remove on your own.
Gingivitis – Know the Warning Signs
Like many diseases, gum disease tends to happen gradually. In the earlier stages, it’s called gingivitis. Symptoms can include:
- Tender, red, or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing your teeth
- Persistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth
Addressing these problems early on with good oral hygiene and care from your dentist can keep gum disease from getting worse and even reverse it.
The Risks of Periodontal Disease
If left untreated, gum disease can worsen and lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis or periodontal disease. This happens when there is a loss of gum tissue and the bone that helps hold the teeth in place. People with periodontal disease may experience symptoms such as:
- Gum recession, which can make your teeth look longer or look like there is more space between them
- Sore gums or pain when chewing
- Loose teeth or lost teeth
Treatments for Gum Disease
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, specialized treatments may be recommended. For example, treatments may include:
- Scaling and Root Planing – Often, this is the first line of defense against gum disease. It is a non-surgical procedure that involves removing plaque and tartar from below the gum line, then smoothing the tooth root to encourage the gums to reattach to it.
- Pocket reduction – This is a surgical procedure that can help close the deep pockets around the teeth where bacteria collect.
- Gum grafting – This type of surgery may be used to replace lost gum tissue caused by gum recession.
- Stabilizing loose teeth – Sometimes loose teeth may be saved by stabilizing them with splints and treating the active gum infection.
- Tooth replacement – In the event that teeth cannot be saved, treatments such as dental implants, bridges, and dentures can help restore function and appearance and support better overall oral health.
Don’t Put Off Care – We’re Here to Help
If you’re feeling worried or embarrassed about gum disease, don’t let that stop you from getting the care you need. You’re not alone – many people have this condition. Scheduling an appointment with a dental provider is an important step in getting your dental health back on track.
Here at Bellissimi Dental, we provide comprehensive dental services to support you no matter what stage of gum disease you may be experiencing. Contact us today at 330-741-3334 to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.