Gum disease affects more than half of adults in the U.S.. Unfortunately, most people with gum disease don’t know that they have it, nor are they aware of the disease’s devastating effects. Thankfully, you can stop gum disease in its tracks and prevent it from worsening by committing to good oral hygiene at home, as well as recommended treatments from your dentist. Read on as, today on the blog, our family dentists in Kingston share helpful information on understanding the stages of gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the hard and soft tissues in the mouth: the gums, periodontal ligaments and jawbone. Over time, oral bacteria erode the gum tissue and jawbone and can infiltrate the bloodstream, affecting other areas of the body and even increasing your risk of heart disease. Without treatment, severe gum disease leads to tooth loss, and can make wearing dentures difficult in cases of significant bone loss.
The stages of gum disease
Gingivitis – The first sign of trouble starts with gingivitis, which causes gums to bleed easily and become inflamed. This early stage is reversible with good at-home oral hygiene, specifically daily flossing in combination with routine dental cleanings. If not well controlled, gingivitis develops into periodontitis.
Periodontitis – As gum disease progresses, bacteria erode the jawbone, forming what is referred to as perio pockets, which form under the gum line, harboring bacteria. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent periodontitis from worsening at this point is with deep dental cleanings, which remove bacteria from the periodontal pockets, and help facilitate healing of the gums. Therefore, it’s essential that you seek professional dental care if you have symptoms of periodontitis. These symptoms include persistent bad breath, receding gums, and gums that bleed easily.
Advanced Periodontitis – This is the final stage of gum disease. The periodontal ligaments weaken and erode, causing teeth to become loose and eventually, tooth loss is inevitable. While some teeth may be salvageable, significantly loose teeth may reach the point of no return and may require extraction.
What should I do if I think I have gum disease?
You should see the dentist right away if you have signs of gum disease, like bleeding gums or gums that are red and inflamed. Additionally, seeing a little bit of blood in the sink when you brush your teeth could be an early sign of gum disease. Therefore, do not delay in seeing your dentist for treatment.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. You should also see the dentist twice a year for dental cleanings, which remove tartar buildup and bacteria that are responsible for causing gum disease. During these twice-yearly visits, we also document any changes in your oral health so that we can treat any concerns as soon as they appear. Therefore, if gum disease develops, we can help you stop the disease from progressing.
Gum Disease Treatment in Kingston, Tennessee
Gum disease may be common, but that doesn’t make it normal. Nor do you have to live with its devastating effects. If you’d like to learn more about gum disease or how we treat periodontal problems, please contact LakeView Dental Arts by calling (865) 376-9687 or make an appointment online.