Roughly 8 in 10 American adults has some first-hand experience with gum disease. But most of them don’t know that.
What is gum disease? Medically-referred to as periodontal disease or periodontitis, it’s a condition in which gum tissue becomes infected and inflamed. If left untreated, it can progress to the point of breaking down the ligaments and bone that support teeth.
Periodontitis poses an immediate risk to your teeth themselves, but that’s not all it’s infamous for. Untreated gum disease has also been connected to other serious health conditions such as heart disease, pneumonia, and premature birth for babies.
Gum Disease: The Beginning
It typically starts with a benign-looking case of gingivitis. Gums are easily irritated by the constant presence of plaque bacteria. If a toothbrush and floss aren’t reaching a certain area of your tooth, then the gum line can get puffy and rolled with inflammation.
If that plaque is allowed to remain, it can calcify into tartar. This can’t be removed with a toothbrush and provides a haven for more bacteria to attach to. The constant exposure to bacteria aggravates the gum infections. Gradually, your gum tissue starts to pull away from your tooth as it rolls, creating a pocket for more germs to collect in.
The longer the infection persists, the deeper the pockets, and the greater the damage.
What You Can Do
You may have some degree of gum disease if you notice:
- Bleeding when you floss or brush
- Chronic bad breath
- Gum recession
Find out your gums’ risk for developing periodontitis and get the help you need by scheduling a consultation with Preston Sherry Dental Associates.