Gum disease is a condition in which the bones and tissues surrounding the teeth become infected and inflamed. With gum disease, there are two stages, which are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth. This can be easily treated but should not be ignored.
If the first stage of gum disease is not treated, it will worsen and move on to stage two, which is periodontitis. Periodontitis is when not only the tissues surrounding the teeth are affected but the bone and tissue that support the teeth are also affected.
At this stage, the gums may begin to pull away from the teeth. When this occurs, there is room for bacteria to grow and the bone of the teeth is eventually damaged. Gum disease can cause the teeth to look longer; teeth may become loose and fall out.
There are many causes of gum disease that range from poor dental hygiene to stress. Some of the most common causes of gum disease are:
- Poor dental hygiene.
- Having diabetes, AIDS or conditions making it difficult for your body to fight infection. Poor eating habits.
- Smoking or Chewing tobacco.
The symptoms of gum disease can range from mild to severe depending on the stage of the disease. If the gum disease is in the first stage, gingivitis, the symptoms include gums that are swollen and sore, gums bleed during brushing and flossing, and gum tenderness. If gum disease is in the periodontitis stage symptoms include:
- Bad breath, which is due to an infection.
- Pus coming from the gums, which is another sign.
- Pockets and space developing against the teeth.
- Loose teeth, which means that the gums supporting the teeth have been damaged.
If any of these symptoms occur, a dentist should be seen immediately. If gum disease is left untreated teeth can fall out and an infection can develop. These symptoms help dentists diagnose gum disease. The dentist will do an exam in order to look for these signs and determine what treatment is right for you. X rays may also be taken to determine the extent of the damage of the bones below the gum line and X rays help them see if any other problems are present.
Treatment options for gum disease depend on the stage of the disease. If the disease is in its early stage, the treatment is brushing and flossing regularly as well as going to the dentist for regular cleanings. If you are in the second stage of gum disease, your dentist will most likely clean your teeth and use a method called root planing. During root planing plaque is removed below and above the gum line. If an infection developed, antibiotics are used to get rid of any infections.
Overall, gum disease can be a very serious condition but can be treated. If you notice any of the early signs of gum disease, it is best to visit a dentist. Luckily, treatment options are available and teeth can be saved.