Are you one of the 80% of adults in the United States who have some level of gum disease? Also called periodontal disease, gum disease forms in the area between your gum line and your teeth. It leads to inflamed tissue and receding gums. The deeper the space is that forms as your gums recede, the more severe your case of gum disease is. It can lead to serious issues if left untreated. Gum disease is a common problem that you should know how to prevent, recognize, and obtain treatment.
Stages of gum disease
Gingivitis if the first stage of gum disease and causes swollen gums that easily bleed. Practicing good dental hygiene like brushing and flossing can prevent and help reverse gingivitis, which usually doesn’t lead to loss of teeth or gum tissue. The next stage, periodontitis, is more serious and happens if you leave gingivitis untreated. The gums will recede and infected pockets form in the gaps. Without treatment, your gums, tissues, and jaw bones may break down. It’s likely that your teeth will loosen and possibly fall out.
The main goal is to control the chronic infection that damages your gums. Treatment depends on the stage of your gum disease. Sometimes it can be cleared up simply with proper dental hygiene and regular professional teeth cleanings. Oral medications may be prescribed, or even medicines that are inserted right into the infected tissue. In severe cases, gum surgery is required.
Consequences of untreated gum disease
In addition to loss of teeth, untreated gum disease gets worse and worse. It has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, and to difficulties controlling blood sugar in diabetics. Pregnant women have an increased risk of delivering babies with low birth weights. Any way you look at it, the smartest and easiest ways to prevent gum disease is to properly brush and floss your teeth, eat a nutritious diet, and see your dentist for regular checkups.