Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is responsible for about 70% of adult tooth loss.
Gum disease is characterized by swollen, inflamed gums surrounding the teeth. Gum disease begins when plaque gets inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens and becomes very difficult to remove, leading to the bacteria from the plaque and tarter to eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to your teeth. This creates deep pockets that grow deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place.
Think of it as if bugs are eating away at the soil around a tree trunk. Eventually, they eat away all of the soil and part of the tree’s roots, causing the tree to collapse.
Signs of Gum Disease
If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, this may be an early sign of gingivitis, which is the earliest phase of gum disease. Gums may be tender to the touch, slightly bleed, or be red/puffy in appearance. If you detect these signs, it's important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Emma.
The good news is that gingivitis is reversible. However, left untreated, it will eat away at your jawbone structure, resulting in premature tooth loss.
Other Causes of Gum Disease
Poor oral care and not having your plaque and tartar professionally cleaned at least every six months may cause and exacerbate gum disease. Other factors include:
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Misaligned, crowded teeth
- Braces or bridgework
- Fluctuating hormones
- Certain medications
Schedule an Appointment
Make sure you get a full checkup and professional cleaning to help your teeth and gums stay healthier.