Periodontal disease, or more commonly known as gum disease, is a chronic gum inflammation that also affects the surrounding tissue. It is, in fact, the primary cause of 70 percent of tooth loss. Studies have shown that gum disease affects three out of four people.
It is typically caused by bacterial plaque – a sticky, colorless film which develops on the teeth. You can remove plaque from your teeth by brushing your teeth every day. Do not forget to floss, too. Otherwise, plaque can harden into calculus or tartar, which is a rough and porous substance.
Your gums can be irritated by the toxins caused by the bacteria in plaque. Such toxins cause the fibers of the gums to break down. When this happens, periodontal pockets are created. Since these pockets contain more bacteria and toxins, your condition gets worse. As the gum disease progresses, the pockets become deeper. The bacteria continue to move until the bone holding the teeth gets destroyed. This causes the tooth to either require extraction or simply fall out.
There are three stages of gum disease. The first stage is gingivitis. It involves an inflammation of the gums, which is caused by the buildup of plaque at your gum line. You will notice that your gums have become red and swollen. They also tend to bleed whenever you brush and floss your teeth. Gingivitis is still easy to treat since it only affects the gums, and not the bone and connective tissue. It is still reversible with proper oral hygiene.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, which is the second stage of gum disease. At this stage, the fibers and supporting bone holding your teeth suffer irreversible damage. You may notice your gums starting to develop a pocket beneath your gum line. This can trap food particles and plaque. To prevent any further damage, you need to practice good oral hygiene, and see your dentist near Laurel MD.
The most severe of all the stages of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. In this case, the bone and the fibers that support your teeth are completely destroyed. Because of this, your teeth start to loosen or shift. Your bite may be affected. Even if you receive aggressive treatment, there is nothing you can do about your condition. Your teeth may have to be extracted or removed.
To prevent gum disease, see to it that you practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis. Make it a point to see your dentist for checkups and cleaning as well. Your dentist will measure how deep your pockets are by using a probe. You may have gum disease if your pocket is at least 4 millimeters deep. Do not wait until you are required to undergo surgery. Take the necessary actions immediately to avoid worsening your gum disease.