Gum disease happens when your gums pull away from your teeth after becoming infected or inflamed. A variety of factors can cause gingivitis including smoking, aging, poor diet, hormonal fluctuations (such as puberty, pregnancy, etc.), heredity, diabetes, stress and even some medications.
Gingivitis is the earliest stages of gum disease. Signs that you may have this mild form of gum disease include red, swollen gums, but there really isn’t discomfort or pain. Gingivitis is easily treated with professional treatment and taking good care of your gums every day with a thorough brushing and flossing routine to clear plaque away. The bacteria in plaque causes gum disease, and plaque is the sticky bacterial film that coats the teeth and gums.
Advanced gingivitis is called periodontitis, and arises over time as the bacterial plaque grows below the gum line, leaving behind toxins from the bacteria which irritate the gums. This causes inflammation and the tissues and bones that support the teeth break down and are destroyed. When this happens, pockets form between the teeth and gums where the gums have pulled away from the teeth. As the bacteria inflames and infects the gum tissue, it causes them to pull away, or recede, from the teeth. This infection eventually makes the teeth become loose and may need to be taken out.
Gum disease should not be ignored, and can be prevented with diligent oral care and regular dental cleanings to prevent the buildup of plaque and to provide treatment if necessary. Eat a healthy diet to ensure proper nutrition, and your gums will thank you!
If you have any questions or concerns, please call our staff at Crozet Dentistry today! 434-218-7072.