The Facts about Gum Disease
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can have serious consequences on your oral health and on your systemic health. To limit your risk of these adverse outcomes, you can educate yourself on the facts about gum disease and how to prevent it.
Here are some important facts about periodontal disease:
- Gum disease is caused by bacteria that can attack the soft tissues in the mouth and the underlying bone, causing inflammation that can lead to bone and tooth loss.
- Periodontal disease occurs in stages. The mildest of these is gingivitis, which is evidenced by red, swollen or bleeding gums. More advanced forms, like periodontitis, form pockets between the teeth and the gums and require intervention by a periodontist.
- Typically, gingivitis can be addressed by a thorough professional cleaning by your dentist. Periodontitis will necessitate an appointment with a periodontist for a specialized cleaning called scaling and root planing. If the disease continues to progress, it may warrant surgery.
- Research has linked gum disease to other important health concerns like heart disease, diabetes and pregnancy problems, among other health conditions.
- If you have an active case of gum disease, you will need to have that treated before undergoing other elective dental work. When untreated gum disease is present, other dental treatments may fail because the surrounding supporting tissues are unhealthy.
- Gum disease is largely preventable. Patients who brush twice a day and floss once a day are taking important steps to reduce the presence of disease-causing oral bacteria. Semi-annual dental exams and cleanings also are important tools in preventing gum disease.
Knowing the facts about gum disease can help you reduce your chances of developing this condition. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a problem so that you may seek treatment early, when it will be most effective and least invasive.