Gum disease is one of the most common dental health concerns and something that most patients will have at some point in their lives. Caused by bacteria that are naturally present in the mouth, gum disease is largely preventable if you visit the dentist regularly and practice good daily oral hygiene habits. The maintenance of healthy gums is an important part of routine dental care in our office and something that we emphasize with patients of all ages.
Gum Disease: the effects on oral health
Gum disease is progressive and begins as gingivitis which is a mild inflammation of the gums as an infection is starting. This early stage of gum disease can typically be treated and resolved with conservative treatment measures. Common signs of gingivitis are bleeding gums, increasingly sensitive gums, and gums that appear redder or swollen. Gums that bleed during regular toothbrushing are one of the most common telltale signs of developing gum disease. If you notice this symptom we recommend coming in for a visit so that we can evaluate the health of your gums and provide appropriate care.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it will likely progress over time to periodontitis. More advanced gum disease or periodontitis is often marked by visible pockets between the gums and tooth roots, swollen gums and even changes in the fit of the bite as teeth shift. Periodontitis can also impact your overall physical health as bacteria are increasingly able to enter the bloodstream due to the deteriorating gum structure.
Progressing gum disease can devastate your oral health if left unchecked. Pockets around the teeth can deepen as the gums pull away from the tooth roots, leaving them exposed and weakening tooth stability. Patients with advanced gum disease often experience changes in tooth position and can ultimately suffer tooth loss. Periodontitis has been scientifically linked to an increased risk for other health problems including the ability to fight infection.
Treating gum disease early is the key to avoiding complex oral health problems that can impact the appearance of your smile, your dental health, and your overall wellness. One of the best means of avoiding the effects of gum disease is preventive dental care twice a year.