Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common oral health problems. It ranges greatly in severity, causing anything from inflammation to damage to the bone and other tissues. If you catch gum disease in its early stages, your dentist will help you cure the disease before it becomes serious. If you leave it untreated, however, you risk losing a tooth.
Gum Disease Causes
Your mouth contains a large amount of bacteria. To keep the bacteria in check, you need to brush your teeth regularly and maintain good oral hygiene. This will stop plaque building up on your teeth. If you fail to remove the plaque, it will turn into tartar, which can only be removed in a professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist.
You are at a higher risk for gum disease if you consume foods and beverages with a high sugar content, as these increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Other risk factors include smoking, diabetes, a weakened immune system, malnutrition, stress, certain medications, and a genetic predisposition.
Gum Disease Symptoms
In its mildest form, gum disease occurs as gingivitis. Symptoms include inflamed gums and bleeding. Should you fail to treat gingivitis, it may turn into periodontitis. This will cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, leading to pockets. As plaque spreads to below the gum line, these pockets may become infected.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to see your dentist immediately. However, gum disease is not always obvious, which is why it is important to receive regular checkups. As the infection spreads, your body will try to control the bacteria, resulting in the destruction of the bone, gums, and connective tissue holding your teeth in place. When teeth become loose, they often need to be extracted.