Gingivitis, also called periodontal disease or gum disease is a bacteria that grows in your mouth. If not properly treated it can cause tooth loss as a result of destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth.
Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Gingivitis and periodontitis are actually two separate things. Gingivitis normally precedes periodontitis, but not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.
Gingivitis starts with plaque buildup, and eventually causes the gums to become inflamed. Sufferers will notice their gums are red and swollen and usually bleed while brushing. At this point the gingivitis has not caused any irreversible damage to the bone or tissue.
However if the gingivitis is left untreated it can lead to periodontitis which is very serious. The inner layer of the gum and bone actually pull away from the teeth forming pockets. Bits of food and germs begin to collect in these pockets and they can become infected. As the plague spreads the body’s natural immune system fights the bacteria. Toxins from the bacteria and the “good” enzymes produced by the body to fight the infection can wear down the bone and tissue that hold the teeth in place. If the disease is allowed to progress the pockets will deepen, more bone and gum tissue are destroyed. After this the teeth are no longer secured in place, and they become loose. It is gum disease that is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Gum Disease Causes
The primary cause of gum disease is due from the buildup of plaque and poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis. But there are other factors that can lead to gum disease such as:
- Hormonal Changes:
- Hormonal changes especially in women from pregnancy, menopause and monthly menstruation can make the gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to form.
- Medications can affect your oral health. A side effect of some medications is “dry-mouth.” This is the result of reduced saliva. Saliva is a protective sheet over the teeth and gums.
- Family History
- If your family has a history of dental disease, then it may be a contributing factor in the formation of gingivitis
Gum Disease Symptoms
The scary thing about gum disease is that it can progress without any pain or noticeable signs. Even into the late stages of the disease a person may not realize what is happening. Periodontitis is not symptomless. While subtle, the symptoms are there such as:
- Bleeding gums after tooth brushing
- Presistent bad breath
- Deep pockets forming between the teeth and gums
- Teeth that are loose or shift; people may notice a different feel when biting down
Only a dentist or periodontist can identify gum disease. Again it is recommended that you regularly checkup with your dentist to maintain healthy oral hygiene and prevent serious problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease.
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