Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Gum disease is the #1 cause of adult tooth loss in the United States.

Even so, many people are tempted to ignore their dentist’s advice to treat gum disease in its early stages.

You have a choice. Do more now, or allow the disease to progress further. Left untreated, gum disease may lead to more serious problems that may require painful and expensive surgery. They can also lead to tooth loss.

Periodontal (gum) disease is very common

Everyone’s mouth contains the bacteria that cause gum disease. That’s why it’s the most common chronic bacterial infection in adults. In fact, the majority of adults in the United States have it. With regular checkups and good daily oral hygiene, it’s possible to keep this infection under control. Since early gum disease symptoms are often mild, many people are not aware of their condition until it becomes more serious. 

Plaque is the root of the problem

Over time, a film (plaque) builds up on your teeth. A major cause of tooth decay, plaque is a sticky substance made of bacteria, mucus, and food on the exposed parts of your teeth. Over time, plaque can harden and become trapped at the base of the tooth.

A buildup can lead to gum infection

Once plaque hardens on your teeth, it’s known as tartar or calculus. Plaque and tartar can harm your gums if they are not removed. This can lead to inflamed and infected gums, also known as gingivitis.

Left untreated, gum disease may progress

The infection can create deep pockets (gaps) or cause your gums to recede or pull back. This exposes the roots of your teeth and allows bacteria to grow below the gumline. Over time, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may need to be removed.

Gum infections may cause many symptoms

The symptoms below are all signs of gum disease. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, tell your dental professional.

Bad breath
The bacteria that cause gum disease release toxins that can cause bad breath.

Tender or painful gums
Receding gums and exposed tooth roots can cause added sensitivity.

Bright red gums
Even a subtle change in the color of your gums can be a sign of gum disease.

Swollen gums
A gum infection can cause the gums to swell.

Bleeding gums
Bleeding is a common symptom of gum disease. Healthy gums should not bleed during brushing, flossing, or a standard dental exam.

Gum disease causes a gap, or pocket, to form along the side of your tooth.

Loose teeth
It’s not normal to have teeth that can wiggle, at any age. Gum disease can cause teeth to loosen over time.

Alignment changes
Gum disease also attacks the bone and tissue that support your teeth. This can cause your teeth to change position over time.

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