According to the CDC, half of Americans over the age of 30 have gum disease. Periodontal disease is a gum infection that can damage soft tissue and destroy the bone that supports teeth. Periodontal disease often results from poor oral hygiene, making many cases preventable. Learning to spot the common signs of this disease can…
Does Gum Disease Cause Damage to Soft Tissue and Bone?
You hear a lot about gum disease, but do you understand its consequences? Many people do not realize the effect conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis can have on their overall health. Without preventive efforts and proper treatment, you could experience severe damage to your gums and even bone loss. Diligent dental habits can help you combat the disease.
How gum disease develops
Like any other oral health problem, disease of the gums occurs due to poor dental habits. When a person fails to brush and floss daily, plaque can gradually build up on the teeth. As it hardens, it turns into tartar around the gumline. This can lead to a bacterial infection, forming in pockets between the teeth. Failure to treat these issues in the early stages will cause the condition to worsen.
Ignoring proper oral health practices is not the only way gum disease can start. Some people are prone to it because of hormonal changes or family history. Certain medications can also contribute to its development. People with health problems such as diabetes can also be at a higher risk.
Typical signs and symptoms
At the beginning of gum disease, the individual will have something called gingivitis. This occurs when the gums are inflamed and bleed easily during brushing or flossing. As the disease progresses, it will turn into periodontitis. Symptoms of this include pain while eating and a reddening of the gums. Bleeding will be more persistent even with minimal contact of the gums.
Effects on the teeth and bones
When gum disease advances, the effects become more serious. If a person with the disease does not see a dentist for treatment, pockets will form as the inner layer of the gum and teeth pull away from the teeth. Food and other particles can fall into these pockets, causing severe infections. Plaque will spread below the gumline, breaking down the bone. This will eventually compromise the connective tissue that holds the teeth. As a result, the teeth may become loose and fall out.
How to treat and reverse gum disease
The most effective way to manage these concerns is to practice good oral habits. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at night will reduce plaque buildup. Going to semiannual dental checkups will also keep gums and teeth healthy and strong. Patients should limit their intake of sugar as well.
People with periodontitis can treat the disease. The dentist and hygienist can scrape away plaque and tartar from the teeth and gumline. The dentist may also give the patient an antibiotic to kill the infection. Bone grafts and soft tissue grafts may be necessary in the most severe cases.
Take charge of your oral health
Now is the time to do something about your dental health. Gum disease can be painful and cause bone and tooth loss. Before you get to this point, talk to your dentist. There are strategies to improve the health of your gums. Always emphasize regular brushing and flossing too.
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