Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? If so, you should be concerned. Bleeding and swollen gums are early signs that your gums are infected with bacteria! If nothing is done, the infection can spread. This infection can destroy the support structures that hold your teeth in place; eventually, your teeth may become loose and fall out.
Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth. These structures include the gums, the cementum that covers the root, the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone. These diseases are diagnosed during routine check ups. Depending on the severity of the disease (based on amount of bleeding, pocket depths, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc), the disease can be classified as one of the following.
This is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. This is the most common and mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It's important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
To prevent gingivitis, practice good oral care habits. This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups. Avoid smoking and tobacco use.
The next stage of periodontal disease is periodontitis. This is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss.
As with gingivitis, this can be prevented with good oral care habits.
Advanced gum disease affects nearly half of the American population over the age of 30. This is quite a shocking statistic! The most common outcome for untreated periodontitis in this advanced stage is tooth loss. Thankfully, some noninvasive procedures exist that can help to prevent this outcome. The first is called scaling and root planing; this treatment involves scraping the plaque and tartar off the teeth and smoothing out the roots.