Gum disease is the inflammation and infection of the gums and the surrounding tissue. Generally caused by bacterial plaque, it is the biggest cause of adult tooth loss. Our Toronto dentists can help you prevent and manage gum disease.
What causes Gum Disease?
Dental plaque is caused by bacteria in your mouth, and it develops on your teeth. If not removed regularly, bacterial plaque will harden to tartar. A rough, porous mineral buildup, tartar forms at and underneath the gum line, and excretes the toxins that cause gum disease.
Gum disease can lead to periodontal pockets in which more bacteria and plaque become trapped. It can also lead to the loosening of the teeth, and eventually, even tooth loss. As the condition worsens, the accumulated toxins and bacteria move deeper into the jaw, destroying the bone that holds the teeth in place.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Stopping the progression of gum disease before it escalates can save patients a lot of time, discomfort, and expense. Signs of gum disease can include:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Presence of pus between the gum and tooth
- Chronic halitosis
A Bigger Problem
Gum disease can wreak havoc on your mouth, but it has also been linked to other health problems, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, and complications with diabetes.
Because the symptoms are initially mild, many people don't realize they have gum disease, which can allow the condition to worsen. You may have an increased risk for gum disease if you smoke, have diabetes, take certain medications, endure excessive stress, or don't eat properly.
Treating Gum Disease
If caught in the early stages, your gum disease can be reversed. To begin, the dentist will scale the teeth to remove plaque and calculus, and plane the roots to smooth them. He may prescribe antibiotics to help clear up any infection or inflammation.
Advanced cases of gum disease may require your dentist to surgically trim the gums, disinfect the tissue, remove the hardened plaque build-up, and re-contour the damaged bone.