Gum disease consists of swelling and soreness of the gums around your teeth. It is caused be bacteria in the plaque that forms on your teeth especially around the gum line. The plaque bacteria have toxins that inflame the gums. Without proper dental hygiene the plaque begins to build up and infect your gums, teeth and the bone that supports them. Eventually your teeth may decay completely be need to be pulled. The signs of gum disease are not always visible and can sometimes be painless. If caught early, it is easier to treat so make sure you come in for your regularly scheduled cleanings every six (6) months.
Three Stages of Gum Disease
Also known as Mild Periodontitis, Gingivitis is tenderness in the gums and bleeding may occur during brushing and flossing. This mild disease can be treated with standard cleanings and routine brushing and flossing at home.
Plaque spreads to the roots of your teeth during this stage. This plaque will begin to cause infection which can damage the bone and fibers that hold the teeth in place. Your gums may also begin to pull away from your teeth which exposes more of the tooth to plaque.
This is the final stage of gum disease. Fibers and the bone hold your teeth in place are completely destroyed. Your teeth may begin to shift or loosen, which can effect your bite. If treatment can't save your teeth, they might need to be removed.
Do I have Gum Disease?
Regular dental cleanings are the best way to guarantee that you have gum disease. Our dental hygienists will inspect your gums and each tooth during your examination and thoroughly clean your teeth before you're done. Just be on the look out for:
- Red, puffy or swollen gums that bleed during normal brushing and flossing.
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth.
- Shifts in your teeth alignment.
- Pus that appears between your teeth and gum.
- Bad breath or taste in your mouth.
Periodontal Disease Is A Bacterial Infection
It is important to treat this disease if you have been diagnosed with it. Because it is an infection, it can enter the blood stream and travel to other major organs and begin new infections. Your heart is one of your most susceptible organs; with over 60 million Americans currently suffering from heart disease. It is important to take care of your periodontal health as it may help you prevent heart disease.
Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease
People who have been diagnosed with heart disease may have been prescribed a number of different medications that could affect your periodontal health or put you at risk for periodontal disease. Medications that cause dry mouth, increased plaque or enlarged gum tissue are conditions that result in bacterial infections under the gum line, causing bleeding and bad breath. When talking with Dr. James about gum disease, remember to list your heart medications and keep them up to date.