Gum Disease: Understanding the Causes, Risks, & Prevention Methods

February 18th, 2021

What is Gum Disease?

Gum Disease, or periodontal disease, are usually the result of infections in the gums and bones that surround your teeth. There are four stages of gum disease that get progressively more dangerous to your oral health, as well as overall health: gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the only stage of gum disease that can be reversed with proper oral hygiene, regular dental appointments, and routine professional cleanings. Once it progresses to the more severe periodontitis, a patient may lose pieces of the bone, tooth, and gums that surround the mouth.

 

A recent report from the CDC found that nearly half of adults in their 30s or older have some form of gum disease, and that number increases to over 70% in adults 65 or older. That makes it one of the most prevalent diseases in our society, yet no one talks about it.

 

Gum Disease - Galliano Family Dentistry

Photo by Nhia Moua on Unsplash

 

What Causes Gum Diseases?

Gingivitis, or the beginning stage of periodontitis, occurs when bacteria and germs, known as plaque, build up around the tooth and gums. If this plaque remains on the tooth for too long, it begins to harden into barnacle-like material called calculus. This tartar, or calculus, continues to build up above the gum line and irritate the gums causing dark redness and sometimes bleeding.

 

If Gingivitis is left untreated, it can continue to worsen into periodontal disease. This is when the gum disease becomes irreversible and only a dental health professional can prevent the disease from progressing any further. Periodontitis occurs when the tartar build up spreads on the tooth and can cause the tooth to harden and the gums to detach from the bone and tooth.

What Are the Risk Factors for Gum Disease?

There are several different risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing periodontitis:

 

Diabetes

Poor oral hygiene

Crooked teeth

Defective fillings

Improperly fit bridges

Smoking

Stress

Genes

Dry mouth

Some female hormonal changes

 

Can You Prevent Gum Disease?

The good news is that you can prevent and treat gum disease. The best gum disease treatment is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You can do that by brushing and flossing between all of your teeth every day to remove the bacteria and germs that cause tartar to build up, and by seeing a dentist at least once a year for a checkup and regular deep oral cleaning.

 

If you do happen to develop gingivitis or the more severe periodontal disease, a dental professional will have to assist in treatments to ensure it doesn’t progress any further. Those treatments might include oral medications you ingest or put directly on the infected areas and deep cleaning of the area between the gums and teeth to prevent further build up of calculus. If it worsens to the most severe forms of gum disease, oral surgery may be necessary to correct the issue.

 

Purple toothbrush - Galliano teeth cleaning

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

 

Brushing, Flossing, and Regular Dentist Appointments are Keys to Preventing and Controlling Gum Disease

Treating periodontitis is very important to ensuring that the disease doesn’t worsen and possibly affect more than just your oral health. At Galliano Family Dentistry, we really preach the importance of brushing and flossing daily and practice preventative dentistry, but if you do develop periodontal disease, our experienced staff will help you take the steps to preventing further growth and maintaining good oral hygiene moving forward. Dr. Galliano will form a treatment plan and work with you to get your oral health back under control. So, contact our staff and set up an appointment today!