What is Gum Disease?
According to the American Dental Association, at least 60% of adults in the United States have moderate-to-severe gum disease! The bad thing about this statistic is that gum disease is not painful. Therefore, people do not know that they have gum infections.
Most people have heard some of the these terms: Plaque, Tartar, Calculus, Gingivitis, Periodontitis, Periodontal Disease, Gum Disease.
Plaque: is a biofilm or mass of bacteria that grows on surfaces within the mouth. It is a sticky colorless deposit at first, but when it forms tartar, it is often brown or pale yellow.
Tartar and Calculus are synonymous.
Calculus: is a form of hardened dental plaque. It is caused by the minerals from saliva being incorporated into the plaque on the teeth. Calculus buildup can be removed with ultrasonic tools or dental hand instruments
Gingivitis: means inflammation of the gum tissue. It commonly occurs because a film of plaque, or bacteria, accumulates on the teeth. Gingivitis is a non-destructive type of periodontal disease, but untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.
Periodontitis, Periodontal Disease, Gum Disease are all different names for the same disease processes.
Periodontal Disease: Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the bone and gum tissue that holds teeth in place.
Simply put, Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease) starts when plaque and tartar (calculus) are allowed to accumulate at the base of your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque leads to an infection in the gums (gingiva) called Gingivitis. This infection now spreads to the tissue and bone that holds your teeth in place, a condition called Gum Disease.
What are the Signs of Gum Disease?
- Gum Disease is rarely painful, especially in the early stages. Some of the common signs of Gum Disease are:
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss (healthy gums will not bleed)
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth (receded)
- Loose permanent teeth or separating (drifting) teeth
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when chewing
- Pus (infection) between the teeth and gums
What are the Dangers of Gum Disease?
Gum Disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. More notably, the infection releases toxins into the bloodstream causing and augmenting systemic health problems. Gum Disease has been an associated with a number of systemic diseases including respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cognitive impairment, obesity, metabolic syndrome and cancer.
Is There a Cure for Gum Disease?
There is no cure for gum disease. However, with advanced dental care like Scaling and Root Planing the disease process can be halted and maintained. There is always a risk of re-infection and patients that have had periodontal disease get check ups and dental cleanings more frequently.
Prevention and Early Detection are your best defenses against Gum Disease. It is vital to catch and treat Gum Disease early because the destruction of bone and tissue cannot be reversed, only abated.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
The best “brushers” and “flossers” in the world will still naturally build up tartar on their teeth. Patients with “healthy” gums and teeth should see their dentist regularly to remove the build-up of tartar and check for the formation of new cavities. Patients with Gum Disease, or patients that build up large amounts of tartar, may need to have their teeth cleaned more frequently to help control the amount of bacteria in the mouth. At your regular recall appointments (Teeth Cleanings), we always evaluate the condition of your gums.
A thorough exam, which includes x-rays, visual inspection, and an analysis of hard and soft tissue, helps determine the health of your gums.
If you have any specific questions about Gum Disease that weren’t answered here, or if you would like an appointment for a Gum Disease screening, please call our office today at 713-941-8261. We are located at 3421 Burke Rd Ste A, Pasadena, Texas 77504.