The Dangers of Gum Disease and How to Prevent It

Gum Disease

Gum disease or gingivitis is an infection that damages the soft tissue around the teeth. Without treatment, it can destroy the supporting bone, causing loose teeth or leading to tooth loss. The condition is common, but it is preventable. 

It is usually due to failure to follow a good oral hygiene routine. Daily brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist can protect gum health. Learn the dangers of gum disease and how to prevent it. 


Understanding Gum Disease 


Gum disease usually begins as a bacterial infection that worsens over time. Gingivitis is the early stage of the disease characterized by gum inflammation. If untreated, it becomes periodontitis, a serious infection that can cause tooth damage. 

Gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss among adults. While it is often a result of the development of dental plaque, gum disease can also be due to certain medications. 


Causes of Gum Disease 


The gums attach to the teeth at a point lower than the visible gum edges. The space between is known as the sulcus. Plaque and food debris can become trapped in the spaces, causing infection. Plaque is the thin film of bacteria that forms on the tooth surface. 

It hardens to tartar, and when it extends below the gumline, it can result in infection. Severe vitamin C deficiency, hormonal changes, leukemia, and exposure to heavy metals can be factors in gum disease development.


Symptoms of Gum Disease 


Most people do not realize they have gum disease during the early stages. However, several symptoms can indicate the presence of the disease. They include:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums

  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing

  • Loose teeth

  • Bad breath (halitosis)

  • Gums that pull away from teeth

  • A change in the dental fit or bite (malocclusion)

  • Sensitive teeth

  • Pain during chewing

  • Pus between the teeth and gums

  • Poorly fitting dentures


Risk Factors for Gum Disease 


Several factors can raise the risk of developing gum disease. They include:

  • Smoking or using tobacco products

  • Using certain medications

  • Having diabetes 

  • Improperly fitted dental appliances

  • Crooked teeth

  • Broken fillings

  • Genetic factors

People with suppressed immunity and pregnant women are susceptible to developing gum disease. 


Dangers of Gum Disease 

Gum disease worsens over time and can lead to severe consequences to overall health. If not treated, the gums can separate from the teeth, causing injury to the bone and soft tissue that supports teeth. It can make teeth unstable or loose and eventually cause tooth loss. 

If you suspect you may have gum disease, contact your dentist immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reverse the damage. The dentist can diagnose gum disease during a regular dental checkup. Probing can check for inflammation. 


Preventing Gum Disease 


Maintaining good oral hygiene can help you prevent gum disease. Brushing your teeth two times a day using fluoride toothpaste is vital. You must floss daily to remove any plaque or debris between teeth and under the gumline. Eating a balanced diet and visiting the dentist regularly can help you prevent gum disease. Follow your dentist’s instructions on taking care of your teeth and gums. 

For more on the dangers of gum disease and how to prevent it, visit Marietta Smile Gallery at our office in Marietta, Georgia. Call 770-809-1500 to book an appointment today.