Periodontal disease is a condition that affects your gum tissue as well as possibly affecting your teeth and gum bone. It is an advanced kind of gum disease that is generally preceded by gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums.
There is a dire need for people to have a better understanding of this condition as it is much more common than you probably realize. Around 70 percent of adult Americans will develop some form of gum disease. However, it does not need to be that way – gum disease can be easily prevented with a little understanding of the causes of the condition and by following a reliable daily dental hygiene routine.
Plaque And Bacteria
There are lots of bacteria that inhabit our mouths. Not all bacteria are bad for you, but there are many bacteria that can cause damage to your gum health – in particular your gum tissue. Some of these damaging bacteria are the cause of gum disease.
When you eat something, the bacteria in your mouth flourish on the leftover food particles that remain. These bacteria then react with your saliva and produce a sticky, slightly yellowish substance called plaque. This accumulates in your mouth and it needs to be removed at least twice a day through brushing. If it is not removed, then it will become tartar, which is a hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist.
Bacteria, plaque and tartar are responsible for causing gum disease because they infect the gum tissue and can destroy the bone and connective tissue.
The Early Stages Of Gum Disease
The early stage of gum disease is also known gingivitis. If gingivitis is not treated, then it progresses into periodontitis. This is a mild form of the condition, but there are still early symptoms of gingivitis that are easy to notice. They include:
- Redness or darker than normal gums
- Swelling of the gums
- Bleeding after brushing your teeth
- Constant bad breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, then you should visit your dentist immediately for a diagnosis and for them to provide you with advice about how to reverse the condition and restore your gum health.
No bone or tissue damage occurs during gingivitis, but if the condition is allowed to develop further, then you will get periodontitis, which is much more serious. At this stage the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and pockets are formed between the teeth and gums where bacteria flourish. The bacterial toxins begin to wear down the gum bone and tissue that connects the teeth and this may lead to tooth loss.
At this stage you are likely to need to have dental surgery in order to restore your gum health and eradicate the infection.
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