Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, occurs when plaque builds up and this bacteria invades the gums. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. There are different stages of gum disease, from mild to more advanced gum disease.
Mild gum disease is also known as gingivitis. Common symptoms of gingivitis are gums that are red, a little swollen, and often bleed when brushing or flossing. The good news about gingivitis is that it is easily reversed, and good oral care and professional cleanings will almost always take care of the problem. Brushing and flossing twice a day, and semi-annual trips to the dentist, almost always resolve these early stages of gum disease.
More advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Signs of periodontitis include having a ‘loose’ tooth as an adult, or having the feeling that your teeth are ‘moving around’ in your mouth. Other common symptoms of periodontitis is having a tooth fall out, or having the feeling that when you bite down on something your teeth do not line up quite right. Over time, this advanced gum disease or periodontitis will cause the tissue surrounding your teeth to erode. This gum erosion will expose the roots of the tooth, and also destroy the supporting bone. Left untreated, periodontitis will progress and become worse over time. If you have had a stroke, or have diabetes, you are more likely to develop periodontitis and should be screened regularly by a dentist for gum disease.
If you have any of the warning signs of early or late stage gum disease, make an appointment to see your dentist right away. Gum disease, if caught early, can be reversed. Later stages of periodontitis can also be treated; impacted teeth can still be saved in many cases. The best thing you can do on a regular basis is to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day to keep periodontal disease away.
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