Many people have gum disease without having any symptoms.
Gum Disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. The American Dental Association states that 75% of all adults will develop some form of gum disease in their lives. Since gum disease is often painless in the beginning, most of us are unaware there is a problem. Maintaining regular dental exams and cleanings are critical to maintaining healthy gum tissue. Healthy gum tissue is the key to keeping our teeth for a lifetime.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath or a bad taste
- Teeth moving or shifting
- Change in bite
Gum disease begins with plaque, which is full of bacteria. If plaque is not removed daily, it will start to cause an infection in the gums, which can be identififed with the above symptoms. Plaque will harden into tarter, which builds up along the gum line and traps germs below. There are some medical conditions and even some medications that can contribute to gum disease.
Periodontal Disease is an infection of the tissue that support our teeth. There is a natural space between our teeth and gums.This space increases as the bacteria goes deeper into the gum tissue and is harder to remove. The deeper the pocket, the more severe the periodontal disease. Bone loss also occurs with periodontal disease. Once the bone is broken down, it does not grow back. Eventually, the support that the bone gives your teeth is compromised, and the teeth may become loose. Studies have shown that the bacteria of periodontal disease in our blood system is being linked to other health conditions including heart problems.
Treatment for periodontal disease is individualized and depends on the extent of the disease. It could include a non-surgical gum treatment, with the use of antibiotics and mouth rinses. Other forms of treatment could include surgery with a periodontist (gum specialist.) With treatment, most gum disease, unless very advanced, can be maintained with the proper home care and gum treatment. With this proper care you still may be able to keep your teeth and stop the spread of the disease.
To prevent periodontal disease it is neccesary to maintain good oral hygiene. The plaque that constantly forms on your teeth consists mostly of bacteria. That is the same bacteria that produces the byproducts that destroy the supporting tissues and bone around your teeth. Removing the plaque by brushing twice daily and cleaning between your teeth once daily, by use of floss, the showerfloss or waterpik, are neccesary to help prevent periodontal disease, as are 6 month routine cleanings from a dental hygienist.