Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. It’s also very prevalent in children and teens, who can experience accelerated gum problems if they have a family history of periodontal disease. Gum disease, otherwise known as gingivitis, starts with mild inflammation and swelling around teeth and along gum lines. It quickly progresses to inflammation and infection in the deeper tissues and bones that anchor teeth in place. Over time, this process allows teeth to become loose and even fall out. A sharp increase in dental implants has been seen recently due to people losing their natural teeth.
If you notice any symptoms that may point towards gum disease, you should see a Monterey gum disease specialist for early treatment. It could help prevent tooth loss.
Causes of Gum Disease
A bacterial infection causes gum disease. It’s a common misconception that people with periodontal disease have poor oral hygiene habits.
It can be caused even if you brush and floss regularly. This is because bacteria from the mouth gets under the gum line and forms plaque on the tooth’s surface. There are about 500 different types of bacteria that can cause gum disease. Smoking, diabetes and HIV also play a role in the development of gum disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
The first symptom of gum disease is typically a change in the way your teeth feel. This could be a slight roughness, or if you have sensitive gums, it could even cause little pain when you eat hot or cold food or drink something acidic.
In the second stage of gum disease, as bacteria continue to accumulate, your gums may start to swell and become red. As the infection sets in more profoundly, they might also bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. With continued gum disease, your gums will pull away from teeth, forming pockets around them. These pockets allow bacteria to remain under the gum line for extended periods.
The final stage of gum disease is bone loss. Bone deterioration happens as the gums pull away from the teeth, causing support around them to weaken. At this point, you may experience pain in your teeth and soreness in your gums when brushing or flossing. Unfortunately, most people don’t seek dental treatment until the third stage, allowing significant damage to teeth and bone.
Treatment for Gum Disease
The best treatment for gum disease is prevention. You can avoid plaque and bacteria that cause gum infection by brushing twice a day, flossing every night, and keeping up with routine dental checkups. If you already have advanced periodontal disease, it’s still possible to treat the condition. Your dentist will do this through deep cleaning of gums, root planning to remove plaque and tartar below the gum line, root debridement to remove damaged bone and antibiotic therapy when necessary.
In summary, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. It is mainly caused by bacterial infection. Symptoms include red, swollen gums, sensitivity, and bone loss. Prevention is the best way to deal with the condition, but a dentist can help with treatment.