Periodontal disease (gum disease) is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. The disease’s slow onset is partially to blame. It’s not something that you catch overnight or recover from with a few days of rest. The prevention, development, and treatment of gum disease are all ongoing processes.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky, colorless film that gradually builds up on teeth. Plaque is a result of the bacteria in your mouth reacting with the food that you eat. If left alone for too long, plaque hardens into what’s called tartar. Plaque, tartar, and bacteria begin building up and eventually form pockets in between your teeth and gum. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis and only causes inflammation of the gums. Periodontitis is the advanced form. This is the stage at which bacterial pockets breakdown the teeth-supporting bones and tissue. Some symptoms to look out for include bright red or purple gums, receding gum line, bad breath, loose teeth, and sensitive gum.
The good news is that gum disease is easily preventable. Just as oral health practitioners always advise; brush daily, floss daily, and visit your dentist for cleaning once or twice yearly. Severe cases are also treatable through deep cleaning performed by your dentist and gum and bone grafting. There are several factors that may put you at higher risk for gum disease:
- Genetic predisposition – A number of people have thinner gums and/or are more likely to develop gum disease due to their genes
- Tobacco use – Smokers are five times more likely to develop periodontitis (severe gum disease)
- Weak immune system – Patients with cancer, diabetes, and HIV have a higher chance of developing gum disease.
- Hormonal changes – Stress, pregnancy, menopause, and hormonal contraceptives can accelerate the advance of gum disease.
Like with most health-related issues being proactive will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Taking care of your teeth and making regular dental visits will save you the pain of dealing with gum, bone, and teeth loss. If you’ve already suffered severe damage to your teeth or have even lost teeth as a result of periodontal disease, you don’t need to continue suffering. Uptown Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry can help restore your smile through the use of advanced dental implant procedures. Schedule a free consultation today!