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Know the Signs of Gum Disease

Updated: Feb 11

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is inflammation caused by bacterial growth in the mouth and gum line. There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. According to Listerine, three out of four American adults have gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Dive deeper to learn the different stages and how to protect your smile with the help of Dr. Barkley, our Pooler GA dentist.


The Stages of Gum Disease

The first stage, gingivitis, is caused by plaque build-up. When plaque isn’t properly removed, it forms along the gum line and causes the gums to become inflamed. The next stage is periodontitis, which causes health problems such as receding gums, and damage to the bone and tissue that hold the teeth in place. In some severe cases, people have also experienced tooth loss. Unlike gingivitis, the effects of periodontitis are typically permanent.


The last stage of gum disease, which is the most detrimental, is advanced periodontitis. Advanced periodontitis is when the fibers and bone of your teeth are being destroyed and cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This also causes issues with your bite, how you eat, and how you communicate. If aggressive periodontal therapy can’t save your teeth, they'll have to be removed to protect the rest of your surrounding smile.


Causes of Gum Disease

Poor dental hygiene is the most common main cause of any stage of gum disease. Lack of effective brushing and flossing leaves behind the plaque. A good daily oral routine consists of brushing twice a day, flossing between the teeth once a day, and rinsing twice a day with an effective antiseptic mouthwash.


Built-up plaque hardens and forms into tartar, which can only be removed by our Pooler dentist. Tartar causes the gum tissue to become inflamed, swollen, and possibly bleed. This condition is called gingivitis. Smoking is also damaging and puts your gums at risk, making them more vulnerable to infection. Whether you’re smoking tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco, smoking weakens your gum's defense and makes it difficult for them to recover. There are a few things to look out for that signify you have gum disease. Gums that are red, puffy, or receding are signs of gum disease. Healthy gums are pink and firm. If you notice your gums are tender to the touch or if blood frequently appears when brushing, see Dr. Barkley as soon as possible. Bad breath is also a sign of early gum disease, often caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and tongue.


If you experience on-going sensitivity or pain, see our Pooler GA dentist, where we'll thoroughly assess your mouth. Call Whole Tooth Dentistry at (912) 988-7723 to speak with Dr. Barkley and see how we'll care for your smile.

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