Did you know that gum disease affects nearly half of all American adults?
While there are many causes of this widespread dental problem, the vast majority of gum disease cases can be prevented with proper daily oral care at home. Another way to stand a better chance of fighting gum disease is to understand exactly what it is and how it develops. Peruse these facts on gum disease and find out why it’s one of the most common dental problems.
How Does Gum Disease Develop?
Much like sugar is the main culprit behind cavities, it can quickly increase the onset of gum disease as well. When sugars stick to our teeth they attract bacteria that accumulates and becomes plaque. As this bacteria feeds on those sugars, it leaves behind acids that can damage your teeth and cause infection in the gums. When this process occurs in the gumline, the gums get infected and can possibly lead to gum disease.
Understanding Gum Disease – Its Three Stages
One of the most crucial points to know about gum disease is that it occurs in three very different stages. Gingivitis, the earliest stage, is characterized by red, swollen gums, but the next two stages are far more severe. At its worst, gum disease can cause permanent damage to the tissues that hold your teeth in place and can result in tooth loss. Following are the three stages of gum disease:
The earliest and least severe form of gum disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis can take place without patients even being aware that they have it, but sufferers may notice symptoms such as inflamed gums and difficulty brushing their teeth or eating. While infected pockets may form in the gums, those are much more prevalent in the next stage, periodontitis.
In this second stage of gum disease, infected pockets have begun to spread more throughout the gums. As the infection spreads, the tissues holding the teeth into place may sustain permanent damage, threatening the strength of your teeth. While you may notice some of your teeth being loose, they won’t fall out until the next stage, advanced periodontitis.
In advanced periodontitis–the worst stage of gum disease–the problem has likely gone untreated for months and even years. At this point, infection has run rampant throughout the mouth and teeth may be so loose that they can fall out. The symptoms are so severe at this stage that surgeries such as gum grafting may be the only way to restore your smile.
Signs You May Have Gum Disease
If you believe you may have gum disease, it’s vital that you come in for treatment as soon as possible. Here are some of the common signs of gum disease:
- Gums are red and inflamed
- Teeth become misaligned
- Weak and loosened teeth
- Breath is consistently bad
- Gums bleed when brushing your teeth
Count on Dr. Milsap to Eliminate Your Gum Disease
If you’ve experienced symptoms of gum disease, it’s imperative to take the problem seriously, even if the symptoms don’t seem that bad yet. The main reason for this is that it doesn’t take long for the problem to become much worse, and when it does, it requires more expensive treatments. Dr. Milsap and his team are deeply familiar with gum disease and the treatments that work best against it. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment or consultation.