Gum disease, also called periodontitis or periodontal disease, is a result of bacterial growth in the mouth that damages the integrity of the gum tissue. This oral health issue can lead to tooth loss, tissue damage, and even deterioration of the bone surrounding and supporting teeth.
Causes of Gum Disease
There are a number of causes and risk factors that can lead to periodontitis, the most well-known of which is poor oral hygiene. When you do not brush and floss properly, bacteria grows and spreads within your mouth, compromising your gum tissue. Additional causes of gum disease include smoking, chewing tobacco, misaligned teeth that are hard to clean, and even genetics. Pregnancy, diabetes, and certain medications can also make you susceptible to periodontal disease.
Early Signs of Gum Disease
Red, swollen gums that bleed easily may be an early sign of gum disease. These are symptoms of gingivitis, which is a mild form of periodontitis that can be easily reversed. In this stage, the teeth and bone are still very stable and the gums have yet to lose tissue.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease can be very unpleasant. In addition to the red, swollen, and tender gums often associated with gingivitis, other signs of gum disease include:
- Gums that bleed at the slightest touch
- Receding gums
- Longer-looking teeth
- Loose or separating teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Foul taste in your mouth
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together
- Pus between your teeth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
In addition, more severe forms of gum disease can present symptoms such as abscess formation and tooth loss.
Gum Disease Treatments
The treatment your dentist may suggest if you have gum disease depends on the severity of your periodontitis. As previously mentioned, gingivitis is easily reversed with proper oral care. In more moderate stages, gum disease treatments often require more frequent professional cleanings for proper plaque control, in addition to diligent brushing and flossing. Antibacterial mouth rinses are also helpful in controlling plaque. You can expedite your gum disease treatment to a degree by making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and eating fewer sugary foods. In severe cases of periodontal disease, you may require bite therapy (fixing any tooth movement or changes in bite pattern) or even surgery.
If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, or if you are seeking treatment for diagnosed gum disease, immediate, proactive treatment from a skilled team of dentists is critical to reversing the disease and preventing further damage. To schedule an appointment, contact us by phone at (678) 306-6000 or submit a contact form and to set up an appointment to discuss your concerns and treatment options, and to help get your oral health back on track again.