One of the most common oral health issues is gum disease. It’s also a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates that approximately three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease—from mild cases of gingivitis to the more severe form known as periodontitis.
Gum disease occurs when dental plaque isn’t removed with daily brushing. Dental plaque is a sticky substance made from leftover food particles and saliva that grows on surfaces in the mouth. It’s toxins and bacteria in dental plaque that break down gum tissue.
Gingivitis results when your body fires back with an inflammatory response, resulting in red, swollen gums.
Advanced gum, or periodontal, disease infects the tissues that support the teeth. As the tissue is attacked and the infection worsens, tooth loss can happen.
If you notice any of the following warning signs of gum disease, contact your dentist.
You can have periodontal disease and not know it, so be sure to visit your dentist regularly. To detect periodontol disease, your dentist will measure the space between your teeth and gums.
Certain factors increase the risk of periodontal disease:
Left untreated, gum disease can lead to several other serious medical conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, along with premature delivery and low birthweight babies.
Good oral hygiene can prevent gum disease. Follow these steps to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
If you develop advanced periodontitis, the bone and supporting tissues around your teeth are affected. Your gums and teeth may need to be treated surgically or removed.