Over 80% of Americans suffer from some form of gum disease. While most types of gum disease can be treated, more importantly, they can be prevented. Gum disease may occur when brushing and flossing are done poorly or improperly. Smoking also increases the likelihood of getting gum disease. Regular visits to your dentist and thorough care of your teeth are simple and easy ways to prevent gum disease from occurring.
There are 3 stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and occurs when teeth are not brushed or flossed daily. Inflammation occurs from the bacteria in the plaque build-up and causes swollen, red gums. Bleeding usually occurs during brushing or flossing. Luckily, the effects of gingivitis can be reversed if cared for early on.
Periodontitis is the second and more advanced stage of gum disease. At this point, “the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged.” (American Dental Association) Pockets may begin to form beneath teeth and increased pain and damage can occur when food and plaque become trapped. In order to prevent further harm, seek proper treatment and learn how to care for periodontitis at home.
Advanced Periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease. By this stage, teeth have usually begun to shift and loosen due to destroyed bone and fibers that can no longer support the teeth. This can cause an uneven bite and may lead to necessary removal of the infected teeth.