Gum Disease An Overview
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of Americans 30 or older have periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease that affects the gums, bone, and other supporting structures of the tooth.
This is concerning considering that gum disease is easily preventable. Luckily, if the condition is caught early, it is extremely treatable and even reversible. Dr. David W. Goris of Beautiful Smiles near the Indianapolis, IN area can diagnose and treat gum disease very easily through routine visits.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are two key stages of gum disease, each of which can have a progression of symptoms.
Gingivitis: This is the first stage of gum disease that is characterized by red, swollen or irritated gums that may bleed when brushing your teeth. It is typically caused by bacteria in the plaque that builds up around your gums. Gingivitis can usually be treated conservatively with success to avoid further infection and damage.
Periodontitis: If gingivitis is left untreated, it will develop into periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease with complex symptoms including receding gums and loose teeth. In this stage of gum disease, the bacteria in the plaque actually cause the gums to become infected which will result in damage to the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth.
Depending on the extent of damage or loss of tissue, we may recommend seeing a local periodontist to restore gum health.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Typically, patients do not realize they have gum disease until the later stages, when damage to the gums affects the teeth or gums become significantly irritated. Common signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen, or sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums (teeth look longer)
- Mouth sores
- Constant bad breath
- New spaces between teeth
- Loose teeth or even Loss of teeth
Gum Disease Causes
Poor oral hygiene is a primary cause of gum disease, but there are a number of other contributing factors including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause
- Certain medications
- Teeth grinding
- Poor nutrition