Learn more about Gum Disease & Prevention
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. Gingivitis is caused by built-up plaque on the teeth. When plaque isn’t properly removed, it forms along the gum line and causes the gums to be inflamed.
The next stage is periodontitis, which can cause serious 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 is, which is also the most detrimental, is advanced periodontitis. Advanced periodontitis is when the fibers and bone of your teeth are being destroyed and can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can also cause issues with your bite, how you eat, and how you communicate. If aggressive periodontal therapy can’t save your teeth, they may have to be removed.
One of the main causes of gum disease is poor dental hygiene. Not brushing and flossing effectively can leave 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 can harden and form into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist. Tartar causes the gum tissue to become inflamed, swollen, and possibly bleed. This condition is called gingivitis. Smoking also can be damaging and poses a risk to be more vulnerable to infection. Whether you’re smoking tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco, smoking weakens your gum's defense and makes it more difficult for them to recover.
There are a few things to look out for that may signify that you have gum disease. Gums that are red, puffy, or receding may be a sign of gum disease. Healthy gums are pink and firm. If you notice that your gums are tender to the touch of blood starts to frequently appear, see a dentist as soon as possible. Bad breath can also be a sign of early gum disease. Foul breath is often caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and tongue. If you experience on-going sensitivity or pain, it’s recommended that you see a dentist who can thoroughly asses your mouth.