Gum disease is more common than you might think. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and something that The Addison Dentist takes very seriously.
The soft tissue in your mouth has a vital job. It protects the roots of your teeth, and provides a barrier for the connective tissues and ligaments that hold your teeth in their sockets. It also protects the alveolar bone in which your teeth are anchored.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease starts with inflammation. Gums become swollen and tender. In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. As the disease progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth, establishing pockets. This is called periodontitis or periodontal disease.
What causes gingivitis?
Bacteria are always present in the oral cavity. When it is left on the teeth and gums, it turns into plaque. Plaque is a thick coating of bacteria on your gums and teeth. Plaque accumulates if it is not removed by rinsing, brushing, and flossing. If plaque multiplies in the pockets around the teeth, the gum will start pulling away. When plaque hardens, it is called tartar or calculus. You can’t brush away tartar with your toothbrush. You need to have a professional dental cleaning.
What are signs of gum disease?
- Tender gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- A change in the color of gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Pain and tenderness
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Teeth that appear longer
- Growing spaces between teeth
- Changes in your bite
How does gum disease threaten your health?
Gum disease increases your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Low infant birth weight
Can periodontitis be prevented?
The short, good answer is yes. But you have to do your part. A daily dental health regiment, professional cleanings, and a sensible diet can keep gums healthy.
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