When it comes to oral health, the gums always take a backseat to teeth.

What many people do not know is that periodontal gum disease is a real threat.

If left untreated, gum disease could cause serious oral infections and tooth loss. When the disease gets that bad, it becomes irreversible.

But what is gum disease? How does it build? How is it treated? What can you do to prevent it? Read on to learn more.

Periodontal Gum Disease

What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal gum disease or simply gum disease can be two things: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Both diseases start with bacteria buildup on the teeth or plaque.

Without regular, proper brushing as well as treatment from your dental hygienist, the bacteria end up infecting the gums.

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums.

This is characterized by redness, swollenness, and bleeding of the gums. It can also be characterized by the unusual darkening of the gums along with the symptoms mentioned earlier.

Gingivitis is the mild form of gum disease. Your gum disease specialist will only tell you to use special toothpaste, brush regularly, and set an appointment with your hygienist.

With proper care, the gums should return to normal and the bones and teeth are not affected.

Periodontitis takes place when gingivitis is not treated.

The infection goes further into damaging the gums and pulls it away from the teeth.

This creates pockets between the gums and teeth that open up the tissue to more bacteria and therefore more damage; when the infection gets this far, the body’s natural reaction is to fight it.

In the course of fighting the infection, the bone and tissue that hold the teeth to the gums start to break. This leads to tooth loss.

What Causes Periodontal Gum Disease?

According to our resident gum disease specialist, gum disease is caused by many things including hormonal changes, excessive smoking, illness, certain medication, and most commonly poor oral hygiene.

Smoking during gum disease treatment makes it harder for the medication to take effect.

Why Should You Not Neglect Gum Disease?

Gum disease left untreated can lead to the following:

Tooth loss:

When the tooth falls out due to gum disease, tooth implants are basically out of the question because the bone would also be damaged and the gum distorted.

Dentures and crowns would also be a little challenging to apply.

Bad breath:

The infection, oral enzymes, and the bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis cause bad breath.

This is unsettling for the person/people you speak with and embarrassing for you.

Worse, this is the kind of bad breath that does not go away with breath mints and oral washes.

Unattractive appearance due to discoloration of gums:

Periodontal gum disease causes the gums to look dark and sometimes almost black.

On top of the bad breath, dark and discolored gums could cause you to feel less confident about your appearance.

Connection to gum disease:

While gum disease specialists and researchers have yet to find evidence, there have been recent observations linking periodontal gum disease with other conditions.

It has been observed that gum disease increases the likelihood of developing heart disease in males and pre-term birth and low-birth weight in their offspring of women.

Don’t wait too long to treat your gum disease! Give your gums a lot of love – visit your periodontist at Irresistible Smiles today!