Your gums are vital soft tissue that supports your teeth. Caring for the health of your gums is an important part of preventing tooth loss, bone loss, and infection.
If you are not careful, soft tissue infection can develop and compromise your oral health. Gum disease is a condition that progresses as follows:
Healthy gums are pink and do not bleed during routine oral care. If gums are red, puffy, and bleed during brushing, you may have gingivitis, an accumulation of destructive bacteria in and on your gums.
Gingivitis can sometimes be reversed with proper oral hygiene. While generally painless, gingivitis leads to periodontitis when left unchecked. Advanced gum disease causes tooth loss and requires more intense treatment which is best provided by a specialist.
Periodontitis, can also be present when gum tissue is inflamed and bleeding, but in this progressed form of gum disease, tissue begins pulling away from the teeth. This creates large pockets of collected bacteria that continue to damage tissue and bone. Once gingivitis develops into periodontitis, you will need professional treatment; brushing and flossing cannot reach deep periodontal pockets.
When bacteria damage bone, teeth loosen and eventually fall out. This is a consequence of the most advanced form of dental infection. Surgery to restore soft tissue health and dental implants may be necessary to slow the progression of the disease and provide support to remaining teeth.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
The CDC lists the warning signs below that may indicate periodontal disease:
• Changes in how teeth come together when biting
• Gum tissue that has pulled away from teeth
• Increased tooth sensitivity
• Loose teeth
• Pain while chewing
• Bleeding or tender gums
• Swollen and red gum tissue
• Persistent bad breath or lingering bad taste
• Changes in how partial dentures fit
If you are experiencing any of the above, schedule an appointment with your dentist or periodontist immediately.
What are Some Complications of Gum Disease?
Advanced gum disease is connected to other serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. In a study published by the American Dental Association, participants with tooth loss and who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease showed an increased chance of cardiovascular death for every five additional teeth lost.
In addition to this report, research has also revealed that harmful oral bacteria can spread to other parts of your body. Infections and inflammation in the lungs have also been linked to bacteria that originated in your mouth.
Preventing Gum Disease
Brush with fluoride toothpaste and soft bristled brush at least twice a day. Floss daily, and visit your dentist at least once a year to have an exam and cleaning. Of you wear a removable dental appliance, such as a denture, remember to clean appliances daily. For added prevention, use an antimicrobial mouthwash.
If you are looking for more information about gum disease, restorations for advanced soft tissue problems, or other periodontal treatments, contact us today!