Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is one of the most serious oral health conditions. Not only can gum disease affect your teeth and gums, but it is an infection that can also impact the health of your body. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease and stroke have all been linked to periodontal disease.
In all cases, gum disease needs to be treated. It is an infection and inflammation within the gums that will not go away on its own. In fact, it will get worse. That’s why we can break gum disease down into three main stages. But you should know that gum disease begins with bacteria. When oral bacteria is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it festers within the gums. Since these are the soft tissues that support your teeth, your teeth and underlying bone can also be impacted.
Gingivitis is the initial state of periodontal disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, rest assured that you’ve caught it early and there’s an excellent chance you can reverse it through conservative measures. Gingivitis is when the gums are inflamed and irritated. It is characterized by red or swollen gums, bleeding gums and/or bad breath.
At the next stage of gum disease, the plaque buildup hardens and turns into tartar. It is important to know that tartar cannot be removed with brushing, only a dentist carries the tools necessary to do the job without causing further harm. Signs of periodontitis include increased gum bleeding as well as gum recession (your teeth may look longer). Again, periodontitis can usually be treated successfully with non-invasive treatment such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning).
#3 Advanced Periodontitis
This is the most serious and detrimental stage. It involves tooth decay and permanent bone loss. Deep pockets typically form between the tooth and gums. This harbors more bacteria and furthers the infection. Patients with advanced periodontitis often have multiple dental issues to address due to the gum infection that has been lingering too long.
Preventing Gum Disease
While it is scary to consider the advanced symptoms of gum disease, it is important to remember that gum disease is absolutely preventable. A good oral hygiene routine along with regular visits to your dentist can ensure gum disease is either prevented altogether or kept an early, manageable stage. If you have symptoms of gum disease, don’t ignore. At Gilreath Dental Associates, we proudly offer treatments for all stages of gum disease using the latest techniques and technology available.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,