Gum Disease Frederick, MD
At Colliver Dental Group, we believe that patient education is the key to a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth. Everyone is familiar with cavities because they are a relatively common occurrence. When we forget to brush and floss cavities tend to occur. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is another (potentially worse) issue that can arise in a mouth that gets neglected – gum disease.
Many don’t know what gum disease is or what causes it and few realize that it is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in the US.
What is gum disease?Gum disease is an infection that affects the gums of a mouth that has been neglected for too long a period of time. Everyone is familiar with why we brush our teeth – because if we don’t bad bacteria build up on them and eat through them, causing cavities. Well, the gums experience infection because of the same reasons.
What causes gum disease?As mentioned above, bacteria buildup is what causes gum disease. When you eat a meal the bacteria within your mouth gets a meal as well. As they feed they reproduce and spread. If you brush normally, you are brushing away these bacteria and preventing their continual buildup. If you are forgetting to brush and floss they get to proliferate.
These bacteria form a sticky substance on your teeth known as plaque. If left alone for long enough plaque can turn into a very hard bacterial substance known as tartar.
Eventually, these bacteria will cause cavities, but they can also begin to take hold of the roots of your teeth. That’s right, they spread below the gum line and begin to push the gums away from the surface of the tooth. When the gums are pushed away from the surface of the tooth, food particles can make their way into the gap. Soon these bacteria will infect the gums.
What can happen because of gum disease?When bacterial infections take hold of the gums initially, it’s known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is marked by gums that bleed easily and that appear red and swollen. Gingivitis can be reversed, and the patient can recover from it.
When gingivitis turns into the late stage gum disease, it is no longer a reversible malady. Late stage gum disease is known as periodontitis. Periodontitis is marked by the same symptoms as gingivitis but with it come more severe infection that typically leads to issues like bone and soft tissue loss. That’s right, you can actually lose a substantial portion of your jaw bone due to periodontitis. With this tissue loss comes tooth loss. When the bone structure starts to weaken and recede the teeth lose their support and typically succumb to infection.