Known more officially as periodontal disease (periodontitis), gum disease is an oral infection caused by bacteria. From commercials from dentists to toothpaste and toothbrush brands, you’ve probably heard an extremely common term: plaque. Plaque is the primary culprit when it comes to gum disease.

Gum disease can be difficult to detect for people not going to their local dentist office for regular cleanings. This is mostly because, for the most part, gum disease is often referred to as a “silent disease”. It generally doesn’t cause much pain, if any, or discomfort. This makes it easy for people to neglect or put off because they’re lacking a physical reminder.

what is gum disease

Causes Of Gum Disease

Your mouth is essentially the gateway to the interior of your body. Other than breaks in the skin, your nose is the next most common method of various bacteria, pollen, and a plethora of other airborne entities to enter your body. Because of this, maintaining good oral hygiene is very important. Otherwise, you’ll develop gum disease which can lead your health down a rabbit hole of other health issues.

Plaque and tartar are the leading causes of gum disease. While not exactly pleasant to think about, our mouths are absolutely full of different kinds of bacteria. Have you ever looked closely at your teeth in the mirror and it looks like your teeth have this colorless covering? That’s called plaque and is the first step in the formation of gum disease. Fortunately, regular brushing and flossing is the preferred method for removing plaque.

When this plaque is not removed, it will start to harden. As it hardens it forms what is called tartar, and tartar cannot be removed by regular brushing. Tartar has to be removed through professional dental cleaning from your dentist.

Symptoms Of Gum Disease

There are some common and important symptoms to look out for when it comes to gum disease. For the most part, you can look for these symptoms on your own at home and bring your concerns to your dentist. First, let’s look at some of the early symptoms of low to moderate gum disease.

Early Stages of Gum Disease:

  • Bleeding gums – if you have ever brushed your teeth and experienced the “pink in the sink”, this is from bleeding gums. When your gums are healthy, they don’t bleed. When your gums bleed when brushing this is a strong indication of inflammation which is a result of an infection.
  • Bad breath – we’re not talking about morning breath that goes away after you brush your teeth in the morning. Gum disease often causes bad breath that doesn’t go away.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you are likely in the mild stages of gum disease. While it may not seem like a big problem now, it can definitely become one. Not only can gum disease get worse, but it can also leave you at a higher risk for other health issues.

There are some more noticeable symptoms, and some of these can even cause discomfort. These symptoms are a good indicator that you have more severe gum disease that should be addressed quickly:

  • Loose or “drifting” teeth – as gum disease progresses, the structures that support your teeth can begin to break down. These can lead to your teeth feeling loose and even drifting which causes gaps between teeth.
  • Receding gums – your gums can also recede as they break down. Not only does this look horrible, but it can expose the root surfaces of your teeth. This inevitably leads to teeth that become more susceptible to decay.
  • Abscesses/sores – not as common as other symptoms. Abscesses can form when you have severe gum disease, and can even cause pain.

The 4 Stages of Periodontitis is broken down into:

  • Periodontitis State 1: Initial
  • Periodontitis State 2: Moderate
  • Periodontitis State 3: Severe with potential for tooth loss.
  • Periodontitis State 4: Severe with potential for loss of all teeth

How To Treat Gum Disease

Gum disease is treatable and by working with your local dentist, curable. If you’ve read over the symptoms and started to worry, you can breathe a sigh of relief because you don’t have to be stuck with gum disease for the rest of your life. Properly brushing your teeth at least twice per day for about two minutes is the best way to prevent gum disease at home. Following this, flossing is also a good habit to have as it cleans much harder to reach areas for a toothbrush.

For more severe gum disease, you’ll need to consult with your dentist for the best course of action. Depending on the severity, you may require a more specialized cleaning or operation. Pickett Family Dental provides the best dental care in Keller, Texas, through routine dental cleanings and the ability to perform numerous types of oral surgeries. Don’t let your gum disease get out of control and schedule an appointment today.