Gum disease is a widespread disorder, with the disease affecting millions of people in the United States. But what causes gum disease? How does the disease develop? Understanding the causes of the disease is important because with the right steps you can significantly reduce the risk of developing periodontal problems.
Healthy gums do not bleed. If your gums bleed, you could be showing early stages of periodontal disease, or gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria found in the plaque build up. Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, precedes periodontitis, or gum disease. However, not all gingivitis may progress to gum disease if properly and promptly treated. Because gum disease is preventable and treatable, it is important to look for common symptoms like bleeding gums.
Signs of Gum Disease
Look for symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis before they progress further. Several common signs of gum disease to look out for include:
- Bleeding Gums
- Red and Swollen Gums
- Loose Teeth
- Shifting Teeth
- Halitosis (Bad Breath)
- Mouth Sores
- Receding Gums
- Tender Gums
Additionally, there are several risk factors that can unknowingly cause gum disease.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
In order to understand and prevent gingivitis or periodontitis, it is important to understand conditions that may make you more prone to gum disease. Often, poor oral hygiene allows plaque and tartar to coat the teeth. This biofilm is the result of bacteria breaking down food particles and can irritate the gum tissue, causing inflammation. Smoking and tobacco use can exacerbate inflammation. In addition, certain medications and treatments can also cause the gums to become inflamed. Finally, you may be genetically predisposed to developing the disease. Common risk factors can include:
- Smoking and Tobacco Use
- Poor Nutrition
- Teeth Clenching and Grinding
- Certain Medications
- Heart Disease
The disease often starts as inflammation, also known as gingivitis. When the gums become inflamed they may appear red or feel sore. Eventually, the tissue pulls away from the teeth and forms pockets at the gum line. Once bacteria invade the pockets then the disease may begin. Patients can then experience bleeding when brushing or flossing, gum recession, and in the late stages (periodontitis) loose or even missing teeth.
Gum disease can be prevented with regular checkups and dentist appointments. Visiting the dentist more often and brushing and flossing teeth twice a day can combat gum disease and improve overall tooth and gum health. But if gingivitis or periodontitis progresses, there are effective treatment options that can prevent further infection and help heal teeth and gums.
Gum Disease Treatment in Northeast Philadelphia, PA
Following a thorough examination and consultation, Dr. Shulman may use a combination of scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), antibacterial rinses, and restorative dentistry to treat gum disease. The type of treatment recommended will depend on the stage and severity of existing disease. For patients who suffer from chronic gum disease or who have a medical condition such as diabetes, our team can offer personalized care and oral hygiene for maintaining healthy and stable gums. Routine dental care plays a key role in keeping the gums healthy and allows for prompt diagnosis and treatment when symptoms arise.
If you think you are developing gum disease, schedule an appointment and call Dr. Shulman at (215) 372-1142.