Customer Service Home | Bad Breath Stopped  | Teeth Whitening Tips |  Canker Sores Cure | Receding Gums  |  Dental Health Articles |  Parents Dental Center  | Dental Health Tips| | About Us | Privacy Policy

What You Need to Know About Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Do your gums bleed when you bite down on a crispy apple or a crusty piece of bread? Do they bleed when you brush your teeth? If they do, you should immediately make an appointment to see your dentist. The most common cause of bleeding gums is a bacterial infection of the gums. Dentists call it periodontal disease or gum disease.gum disease

75 percent of the population suffer from gum disease in various degrees of severity. Mild gum disease is called gingivitis, severe gum disease is called periodontitis. Although gum disease can cause major problems and pain and expense, its symptoms are often mild, except in the most severe cases when your teeth start falling out. Many people who have mild to moderate gum disease don't even know they have it.

The consequences of untreated gum disease can be quite serious. It is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. And it can significantly increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Pregnant women with gum disease have a significantly higher risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

Fortunately, gum disease can easily be prevented by following a few simple oral hygiene rules. And if you have gum disease, you can improve your situation by improving your oral hygiene. We'll show you how.

What Happens When You Get Gum Disease?

Whether or not you have gum disease (periodontal disease), everybody has bacteria in their mouths. Some bacteria are harmless, and some can infect you and cause disease. You should not try to kill all the bacteria in your mouth -- you will only end up hurting delicate oral tissues. It is enough to keep the harmful bacteria in check. We live in a world of microbes, and we must learn to live in harmony with them.

Bacteria in your mouth form plaque -- a soft, white substance which adheres to teeth, tongue, and gums. Harmful bacteria can live beneath this soft blanket. Inadequate oral care will fail to remove all the plaque from your mouth, especially from between your teeth. When plaque is not removed, it calcifies (hardens). Calcified plaque, known as tartar, cannot be removed by simply brushing and flossing -- your dental hygienist must do it.

The longer tartar is left on teeth and gums, the more harmful bacteria can grow beneath it. The bacteria beneath tartar release toxins which damage your gums and cause inflammation. These bacteria also invade gum tissue, leading to even more inflammation. Early inflammation of the gums is called gingivitis, and is the first stage of gum disease.

Fortunately, gingivitis is easily prevented by proper flossing and brushing. Ask your dentist to review your flossing and brushing techniques. Many dentists recommend advanced electrical toothbrushes such as Braun Oral-B® and Sonicare®. These devices can remove plaque and bacteria that hide just below the gumline, where manual toothbrushes cannot reach.

If left unchecked, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis. Often painless, periodontitis occurs when bacterial infection of the gums spreads down along the tooth to its root. When this happens, your gums will pull away from the affected tooth, causing a deep pocket to form. Your dentist can check your pocket depth with a painless probe to see if you have or have had gum disease. If periodontitis is left unchecked, your jaw bone will dissolve and your teeth will progressively loosen till they fall out.

Other signs of gum disease include halitosis (bad breath), red or swollen gums, loose teeth, pus issuing from the gums, tender gums or pain on chewing, gums which bleed spontaneously, or bleeding when eating or brushing your teeth.

Stop periodontal disease early to spare yourself
major pain, expense, and serious health problems.

Gum Disease: The Consequences

Gum disease can have severe consequences on your health and interpersonal relationships:

Bad Breath (halitosis)
Halitosis which accompanies minor gum disease (gingivitis) can easily be eliminated by a conscientious program of flossing and brushing, plus gentle brushing of your tongue, inner cheeks, and the roof of your mouth.

Halitosis due to major gum disease (periodontitis) is due to a festering infection in the deep pockets that you have allowed to form. This form of halitosis can only be treated by eliminating the pocket -- see a dentist. You still need to carry out the oral hygiene program listed above.

Tooth Loss
Bacterial infection of the tooth ligaments and jaw bone will cause teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.

Premature Birth
Recent clinical studies have shown that pregnant women with periodontal disease are much more likely deliver prematurely.

Increased Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Osteoporosis
Recent research indicates that gum disease bacteria routinely enter the bloodstream, where they initiate hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. Gum disease is also associated with significantly increased risk of osteoporosis.

Dental Health Home
Gum Disease Home
Gum Disease Overview
Heart Attacks & Strokes
Gum Disease?
Premature Births
Gum Disease Prevention
Gum Disease - Toothbrush
Gum Disease Tools
Gum Disease Guide