Did you know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss? Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is most common among men over the age of 35, but everyone is at risk. If you smoke, have diabetes, fail to brush every day, or seldom visit your dentist , you should be especially aware of the symptoms of gum disease. Here is what you need to know about how to protect your teeth from periodontal disease:
Gum disease is chronic inflammation of the gums caused by the bacteria found in plaque. If you do not remove this plaque by brushing and flossing daily, its bacteria can infect the connective tissues and bone that support the teeth. In its earliest stage, gum disease is classified as gingivitis. Red, swollen gums that bleed easily are common symptoms of gingivitis; however, you may feel little or no discomfort at this stage. Damage caused by gingivitis can be reversed with more rigorous at-home hygiene.
When gingivitis progresses, it becomes classified as periodontitis. At this stage, damage done to the connective gum tissue and bone may be irreversible. Periodontitis causes the gums to recede and pull away from the teeth, forming pockets near the gum line that trap food and bacteria. Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may signal periodontitis. Your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing to remove built-up plaque and allow the gum tissue to reattach. This procedure can prevent further damage and stabilize the tooth when paired with thorough brushing and flossing.
In this final stage, more connective tissues are destroyed, causing the teeth to loosen and shift. These changes can also affect your bite and how your teeth fit together. If periodontitis is severely advanced, even professional intervention may not be successful and your dentist may recommend extraction.
Don’t let gum disease destroy your smile—visit University Associates in Dentistry of Chicago for regular checkups and healthy teeth. If you notice signs of gingivitis or periodontitis , call (312) 704-5511 to ask about scaling and root planing. Our general dentists also offer restorative dentistry options, including dental implants.