Inflamed, red, and swollen gums are often a sign of gum disease. Stages of gum disease can range from easily treatable minor redness and swelling of the gums – a condition referred to as gingivitis – to the total destruction of the bone structure that supports the position of your teeth – advanced periodontitis, which is responsible for tooth loss. Growing medical research has also shown that the damage caused by advanced gum disease can have far reaching implications not just for your teeth, but for your overall health as well. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of a variety of serious health conditions such as:
Periodontal or gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the gums. Plaque is a sticky colorless film of bacteria that forms on our gums and teeth. Plaque is the main cause of cavities and gum disease, which hardens into tartar if not removed with thorough oral care.
When plaque is not removed, gums become irritated and inflamed. Irritated gums can then separate from the tooth, forming a space in between known as periodontal pockets. These pockets become vulnerable to bacteria. Bacteria from the plaque build-up can move into the periodontal pockets and cause irritation and inflammation of your gums. If left untreated, the bacteria will continue attacking the bone and tooth supporting structures and can eventually result to tooth loss.
Other factors that may also contribute to periodontal disease include; tobacco use, genetic predisposition, pregnancy and menopause, chronic stress, poor diet, teeth grinding, particular medications, diabetes and other underlying medical issues.
We check the health of your gums at each exam and teeth cleaning appointment. Our hygienist gently examines the gums for any signs of periodontal disease. Prevention and early diagnosis makes treatment easier.
A professional teeth cleaning is an effective way to begin treating periodontal symptoms. Plaque is removed above and below your gum line. Often a deeper cleaning – known as scaling and root planing – is necessary to eliminate plaque build-up. If your periodontal disease has progressed, we may recommend surgical procedures to treat the damaged gum tissue.
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