If you have been told you have gum disease, you’re not alone. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious diseases that result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.
Colgate helps you know about the different stages of Gum disease so that you care for your teeth and gums every day and protect them.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by the germs in plaque. If not removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up and the germs infect not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can cause them to become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
There are three stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease, an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup at the gum line. Plaque produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. Bleeding is the first sign for Gingivitis. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be improved, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.
Periodontitis: Here the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gum line, which traps food and plaque. Proper dental treatment and improved home care can usually help prevent further damage.
Advanced Periodontitis: In this final stage, the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and teeth may need to be removed.
How do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease can occur at any age, but it is most common among adults. If detected in its early stages, gum disease can be improved so see your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
• Gums that are red, puffy or swollen, or tender
• Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
• Teeth that look longer because your gums have receded
• Gums that have separated, or pulled away, from your teeth, creating a pocket
• Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
How is Gum Disease Treated?
The early stages of gum disease can often improve with proper brushing and flossing. Good oral health will help keep plaque from building up.
A professional cleaning by your dentist or hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar. Your dentist or hygienist will clean or “scale” your teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gum line. If your condition is more severe, a root planning procedure may be performed. Root planning helps to smooth irregularities on the roots of the teeth making it more difficult for plaque to deposit there.
Knowing these stages will help you know if you suffer from gum disease. The earlier you know the better it is. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing and make sure you visit your dentist atleast once a month for your healthy gums.
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