Gum disease, by definition, is inflammation of the gums and abnormal loss of bone that holds your teeth in place. Gum disease is caused by toxins secreted by bacteria in “plaque” that accumulate over time along the gum line. This plaque is a mixture of food, saliva and bacteria.
There are two types of gum disease; Gingivitis and Periodontal disease. In many cases, but not all, Periodontal disease comes after you have gone a while with untreated Gingivitis. Gingivitis is less aggressive and treatable, while Periodontal disease tends to be much more severe. Gum disease is the #1 reason for tooth loss in adults. Below are descriptions as well as signs and symptoms to look for if you think you may have either type of gum disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease happens when the gum and bone surrounding your teeth loosen around the teeth and form pockets. These pockets become places where food and other debris are collected. These pockets then become infected. Bad bacteria as well as your body’s “good” bacteria start attacking the bones and tissues that hold teeth in place. This causes the teeth to loosen, break, and even fall out.
There are diverse types of Periodontal disease including, aggressive, chronic, manifestation of systemic disease and necrotizing. Aggressive is typically seen in patients who are otherwise healthy but the disease is spreading rapidly. Chronic is seen mostly in adults but can happen at any age and usually occurs slowly. Manifestation of systemic disease typically starts at an early age and is caused by conditions such as respiratory disease, heart disease and diabetes. Necrotizing is an infection characterized by the necrosis of tissues and bone and are mostly seen in patients with HIV, immunosuppression and malnutrition.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis causes the gums to be inflamed, red and bleed easily (especially when brushing). Your gums may or may not be irritated or cause discomfort. This disease can be reversed with the help of a dentist and better oral health.
Other contributing factors are smoking, systemic disease, substance abuse, some medications, diabetes and stress.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- Loose teeth
- Puss or abscess
- Sensitivity to only hot or cold
- Bleeding gums while brushing and flossing
- Swollen, red or sensitive gums
If you feel any of this is something you may be experiencing please call our office to schedule an exam or see your family dentist as soon as possible.