Get the Facts About Gum Disease

Recognize the Early Symptoms

When Karen came into my office she was noticing some changes in her gums, specifically her gums were red, tender, and frequently bleeding when she ate tough foods. Recognizing some common symptoms of gum disease, I explained to Karen how gum disease progresses…

Plaque is a sticky bacterial residue that is continually developing on your teeth. Food, drink, and saliva generate plaque throughout the day (which is why it’s so important to brush and floss at least twice a day to diminish plaque buildup). When plaque is not thoroughly removed by brushing and flossing, the bacteria hardens into tartar, also referred to as calculus. Tartar is bonded to the teeth, so only a dentist can remove it. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection of your gum tissue caused by the bacteria in plaque and tartar buildup in your mouth.

There are Two Stages of Gum Disease…

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. This infection affects the gums; causing tender, swollen gums, which may bleed after brushing or eating. Sometimes symptoms of gingivitis are so mild that it goes undetected. Gingivitis is reversible if it is detected and treated early. However, gingivitis left untreated can lead to…

Periodontitis, which occurs when the bacterial infection of the gums spreads to the teeth, bones, and connective tissue holding your teeth in place. The gum and bone detach from the teeth, forming pockets between the teeth and gums. These spaces collect bacteria and become infected. This can eventually lead to bone and tissue loss, loosening of the teeth, and loss of teeth.

Common symptoms of gum disease are…

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed after brushing or eating hard foods
  • Receding gums
  • Continual bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Change in bite alignment
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss

Many patients, like Karen, notice some of the symptoms of gum disease, but are not sure how serious these symptoms are. If you or someone you know notices signs of gum disease it is important to talk to your dentist. A dental cleaning can remove the tartar and plaque that cause gum disease, and with the help of your dentist you can follow a treatment plan that keeps your teeth and gums healthy and strong.
If you think you might have signs of gum disease like Karen, or if it’s just time for a professional cleaning and you’d like more information, schedule a free consultation with me, and we’ll get you on your way to a healthy smile!

In next week’s newsletter, we’ll talk about the ways to prevent and treat gum disease!

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