Gum Disease: Causes and Signs

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Although periodontitis may seem solely a dental condition, it has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Gum disease occurs when an infection of the gum tissues threatens the roots of your teeth and the jawbone that anchors the teeth in place. The disease begins with bacteria in your mouth and can end with gum recession and tooth loss.

Gum Disease Columbia, South Carolina dentist

Causes of Gum Disease

The primary cause of gum disease is a buildup of bacteria on tooth enamel and gum tissues. The bacteria in our mouths can form plaque on our teeth. If plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing, tartar can form on the gum line and between teeth. Our immune systems release defensive cells to fight this bacteria, but this can irritate areas around the teeth and create inflamed gums. When gums swell, they pull away from the teeth and create pockets that allow bacteria to enter.

Other factors that lead to gum disease include:

  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Genetics
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain illnesses
  • Clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism)

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Be aware of the common signs of periodontitis:

  • Gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that pull away from teeth
  • Changes in your bite
  • Deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • New spaces between your teeth

Stages Of Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is characterized by gum inflammation. This early-stage occurs when plaque builds up on teeth and the gums become inflamed. Although gingivitis is reversible, it can lead to later stages if left untreated.

Periodontitis truly begins when the bacteria irritate gum tissues and plaque hardens on teeth. Gum disease is more difficult to treat, but it is important to get treated before the gums recede, as this can result in tooth loss.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Treat symptoms of gum disease today by calling Dr. Tom Trinkner today at 803.400.8729. You may also request a consultation with Dr. Trinkner online.