Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can be progressive. It begins as gingivitis and worsens in stages. Here is a bit of information about the condition and how it can be recognized and treated.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by the presence of plaque in the mouth. The bacteria in the plaque release acidic waste that inflames the gingival tissues.
In addition to plaque, other issues may make you more susceptible to gum disease, such as smoking, advanced age, and pregnancy. Smoking changes the functionality of the gingival cells and increases the likelihood of gingival infections. Many people may not care for their gums as meticulously as they age due to cognitive and physical decline. Also, the hormones of pregnancy increase the blood flow and inflammation of the gums, making gum disease more likely.
What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?
- Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. During the stage, you may notice red, swollen gums that bleed easily.
- The next stage is early periodontitis. During this stage, pockets start to form between the teeth and gums. Additionally, degradation of the jawbone that holds the teeth in place begins.
- Moderate periodontitis follows. The teeth become noticeably looser in their sockets and the gums recede.
- Advanced periodontitis. People with advanced periodontitis often experience discomfort as they bite and chew. In addition, the teeth may become increasingly loose and fall out.
Is Gum Disease Reversible?
Gum disease does not have to progress through all of the stages. With proper at-home and professional care, the health of the gums can be restored.
The earliest stages can be reversed with consistent, proper brushing and flossing. However, periodontitis may require professional applications, such as regular scalings and root planings. During these treatments, the plaque and tartar are removed from the surfaces of the teeth above and below the gum line.
How Can Gum Disease Be Avoided?
Gum disease can be avoided by brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouth rinse. Additionally, you should visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups and professional cleanings.
During professional cleanings, tartar accumulations are scraped from the tooth enamel. The elimination of the porous tartar helps remove the additional surface area in the mouth where harmful microbes can accumulate.
Also, dental professionals can spot early signs of gum disease during checkups. Early detection can help ensure that the treatment occurs promptly before the gum problems worsen.
To learn more about periodontal disease, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.