Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is caused by the bacteria found on teeth and gums.
This bacteria comes from plaque. Essentially what happens is the bacteria in the plaque eat the sugars in the foods that you eat and drink. In turn, more toxins are released. These toxins irritate your gums and cause them to become inflamed.
When plaque hardens into tartar, this causes even more irritation and causes your gums to pull away from your teeth.
Gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss.
While the primary cause of gum disease is the bacteria contained in plaque, there are other factors that can contribute to gum disease, including smoking, hormonal factors, certain medications that can dry out your mouth, and family genetics.
As you will see, gum disease has varying stages and/or types, including gingivitis and periodontitis.
Early stages of the disease can be reversed. That’s why identifying these signs (and treating them) is so important because it can prevent gum disease from progressing any further.
The problem, however, is that the early stages of gum disease are mostly painless and therefore less likely to be recognized.
Can Gum Disease Be Reversed?
The first stage of gum disease—gingivitis—can be reversed. Gingivitis is gum disease that only affects the gums.
At this stage, there is a buildup of plaque (and bacteria in the plaque) that causes the gums to become inflamed.
Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums (healthy gums should be pink), gums that bleed when you brush or floss, bad breath, a heavy buildup of tartar, and sensitive teeth.
If left untreated, gum disease can occur, which leads to tooth loss, as mentioned above. At this point, the tissues and bones that surround and support your teeth have become infected.
If any of the aforementioned signs apply to you, it is important to schedule a dental appointment right way.
A dentist will remove tartar and plaque that you cannot remove on your own. Beyond this, proper oral hygiene (brushing after every time you eat, daily flossing, and mouthwash) to further remove plaque is also important.
Your dentist will provide further recommendations.
Keep in mind that an electric toothbrush tends to be superior at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes, so this is something to consider. Your dentist might also advise that you get supplemental flossing with dental picks.
If you would like to schedule a consultation, contact Metcalfe & Cooper Family Dentistry here. Metcalfe & Cooper Family Dentistry has been providing cost-effective and individualized cosmetic dental services for more than 30 years.