Periodontal Disease, more commonly referred to as “gum disease,” is a major factor in the deterioration and loss of teeth. Research shows that gum disease may be linked to other conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, smoking, substance abuse and more.
Gingivitis is gum disease in its mildest form. Gingivitis can cause your gums to swell and turn red. An early indication of gingivitis is bleeding of the gums, particularly when brushing your teeth. The cause of gingivitis is most often attributed to poor oral hygiene. Luckily, your gums can return to normal under a dentist’s care combined with proper care at home.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into the more serious gum disease, periodontitis. With periodontitis, plaque grows beneath the gum line. Bacteria from the plaque release toxins, causing irritation to the gums. Eventually, the body reacts to the toxins with chronic inflammation, causing the tissue and bones surrounding the teeth to degrade. The gums will begin to move away from the teeth, leaving pockets that can become infected. Left untreated, periodontitis can advance, causing even deeper pockets in the gums and continued decay of tissue and tooth bone.
The most common forms of periodontitis include:
- Aggressive Periodontitis (quick loss of gum attachment and bone decay)
- Chronic Periodontitis (inflammation, pockets in the gums, quick loss of gum attachment and recession of the gums)
- Necrotizing Periodontitis (more common in conjunction with ongoing systemic conditions such as a compromised immune system, HIV and malnutrition)
Be kind to your gums. Practice consistent, good oral hygiene and make regular trips to the dentist. For help obtaining and maintaining healthy gums, contact us for a free dental evaluation.