Often taken for granted, the monotonous task of brushing and flossing our teeth daily has never been more important in order to avoid gum disease and reduce the risks gum disease place on our overall health. It has been estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of gum disease, which has been linked to serious health complications and causes various dental problems that are often avoidable.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is caused by plaque buildup around the gumline which causes inflammation of the gums. If you neglect to brush or floss your teeth daily, this plaque buildup will trap bacteria that cause gum disease.Gingivitis causes inflammation of the gums. Gums that should otherwise be pink will appear red and swollen and you may experience bleeding when you brush or floss. However, at this point, gingivitis can still be reversed. The bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place have not yet been affected.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will become periodontitis. At this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place have been irreversibly damaged. Your gums will begin to form “pockets”, deep hollow areas around the teeth that trap food, plaque, and bacteria. Your gums may begin to recede, forming gaps between your teeth. Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent further damage and tooth loss.
In this final stage of gum disease, periodontitis has been left untreated and has become advanced periodontitis. The bacteria that has been allowed to grow, spread, and cause destruction has destroyed the connective tissues and bone that support the teeth. The pockets that formed in the previous stage, have become much deeper. This can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. Loose teeth that move around in the mouth may affect your bite. At this state, aggressive treatment is needed to save the teeth.