Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss. Unfortunately, it is more common than you may realize.
Periodontal disease affects nearly half of people over 30, and your risk increases as you age. In fact, seven in 10 adults over 65 have gum disease.
Recognizing the signs of gum problems allows you to seek periodontal disease treatment before it reaches an advanced stage.
Roy Hudgens, DMD, at Hudgens Dental, located in Charleston, South Carolina, has extensive experience treating every stage of gum disease. But he wants you to know that early treatment prevents serious complications.
Gum disease doesn’t appear overnight. It develops gradually, giving you time to identify signs and take steps to protect your dental health.
When you eat carbohydrates, sugars from the carbs combine with bacteria and saliva, creating plaque. This sticky substance holds the bacteria on your teeth.
At this stage, you can lower your risk for gum disease with diligent brushing and flossing to remove plaque.
Plaque that stays on your teeth hardens into tartar within a few days. You can’t eliminate tartar by brushing, which is why getting a dental check-up every six months is so important. During your check-up, we use special tools to remove tartar.
The problem with plaque and tartar is that they hold living bacteria against your teeth. In addition to giving bacteria time to erode tooth enamel and cause cavities, it also makes it easy for bacteria to get below your gum line. That’s when gum disease begins.
As bacteria invade your gums, they cause inflammation and an infection (gingivitis). At this point, it’s essential to start treatment for the disease and stop it from progressing deeper into your gums.
Without treatment, gingivitis progresses and causes periodontal disease, the most advanced form of gum disease. The resulting infection causes serious problems, such as:
Ultimately, periodontitis leads to tooth loss.
Plaque and tartar don’t cause symptoms until they cause decay or inflammation. You can’t see plaque because it’s colorless and blends in with your teeth. However, you can see tartar.
Tartar accumulates around your gum line and is a different color than your natural enamel. Additionally, tartar absorbs stains faster than the teeth. You might notice a yellowish or brown line around your teeth where they meet the gums.
The four telltale signs of gingivitis are:
Signs of advanced periodontal disease include:
Don’t wait to schedule an exam at Hudgens Dental at the first sign of gum disease.
Gum disease puts you at risk of losing teeth. But it also impacts your entire body.
The bacteria responsible for gum disease eventually find their way into your bloodstream. Then, the bacteria can travel through your body, causing systemic inflammation and infection. This type of inflammation is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, high blood sugar, and respiratory diseases like pneumonia.
Call Hudgens Dental or use online booking today to schedule a thorough check-up and get expert treatment for gum disease.