Gum Disease / Periodontal Disease

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums and tissues that support your teeth. It is caused most often by the build-up of plaque and tartar when teeth are not routinely brushed and flossed.

 

There are two major stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis affects only the gums. It is a mild form of gum disease, and if properly treated, may be reversed. Left untreated, gingivitis turns into periodontitis.

 

During this more destructive disease stage, bacteria penetrate into the deeper pockets of tissue where bone and membrane support your teeth. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and serious health problems.

 

What are some risk factors?

You may be at risk for gum disease if any of the following apply to you:

  •  Tobacco and alcohol use

  •  Systematic diseases

  •  Genetics

  •  Pregnancy


In addition, the following types of prescription drugs may also increase the risk of gum disease. Talk with your dentist if you are taking:

  •  Steroids

  •  Cancer therapy drugs

  •  Oral contraceptives

  •  An anti-epilepsy drug

  •  A calcium channel blocker


Warning Signs:

 

  • Changes to your Teeth, Bite or Dental Work

  • Changes to Your Gums

  • Bad Breath or Odd Taste in Your Mouth

  • Sores in Your Mouth

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