Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums and surrounding tissues. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease is caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that irritates the gums. The gums become inflamed, irritated, and swollen. The gums can begin to recede, exposing the roots and teeth. The gums can also begin to pull away from the tooth, forming pockets below the gum line. These pockets can fill with more bacteria and plaque, which causes further irritation to the gums.
Without any treatment, gum disease can get worse over time. However, your dentist may be able to stop its progression in the early stages. The stages of gum disease are as follows:
Gingivitis: This is the mildest form of gum disease. Gingivitis often goes unnoticed because symptoms are not obvious. When gingivitis is caught early, it can be reversed and healed through professional cleaning.
Mild periodontitis: As the condition progresses, infected pockets develop between teeth and gums, creating deeper infections. Mild periodontitis is treated with scaling, root planing, and antibiotics.
Moderate periodontitis: Pockets become deeper, and infection continues. Moderate periodontitis requires scaling and root planing, as well as antibiotics.
Severe periodontitis: Pockets deepen, and the infection spreads. At this point, gum recession and bone loss can occur. Treatment requires scaling and root planing, as well as antibiotics and surgery.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Any mouth plaque that isn’t cleaned away can cause gum disease. Plaque buildup can cause gum inflammation, and if it isn’t addressed, it can even lead to gum disease.
The cause of gum disease is genetics. Approximately 30 percent of people experience gum disease due to genetics. The bacteria that cause gum disease may be passed from generation to generation. Families that have a history of gum disease are more likely to have their children experience it as well.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of periodontal disease. Smokers have greater plaque buildup on their teeth than non-smokers, and they also have more calculus (tartar) on their teeth. Tobacco use also exposes teeth to nicotine, which decreases blood flow and makes it harder for gum tissue to heal after periodontal treatment. Gums, bones, ligaments, and nerves can all be affected by tobacco use.
Many women experience hormonal changes during their lifetime, often around times of menstruation or pregnancy. These changes can cause gums to become inflamed and bleed easily.
Hormonal changes can also have an effect on the body’s immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off bacteria. This can lead to gum infections such as gingivitis or more serious gum disease.
Other Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions can increase your chances of developing gum disease. For example, diabetes lowers your resistance to infection, which makes it easier for gum disease to develop. Similarly, certain medications, like antidepressants, birth control pills, and steroids, can increase your risk of gum disease.
Oral piercings can lead to gum disease. Regardless of where the piercing is placed, it can break the skin and lead to an infection.
Visit Picacho Dental 3325 S Ave 8 E Suite 4, Yuma, AZ 85365, for a consultation to discuss the best dental treatment option for you. Make your appointment at (928) 344-3177 right away.