Gum disease is a serious disease that affects millions of people annually. Since it progresses in stages, people often do not realize they have it until visiting their dentist. It initially affects the gums, but left untreated can spread to the jaw bone, lead to tooth loss and eventually even systemic diseases in the body.
Learning the symptoms of gum disease and monitoring gum health at home is a great way to take a proactive approach to your oral health. Here is some helpful information about the three stages of gum disease along with their symptoms.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and it is typically the stage that people miss most often. It occurs when bacteria from plaque build-up begins to infect the gums. Patients may experience slight gum irritation or bleeding when they brush or floss. This is often written off as sensitivity or brushing too hard. This stage of the disease is reversible with proper, diligent oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
This is the second stage of gum disease and it is more serious. Patients may experience persistent bad breath along with bright, swollen gums that are tender to the touch. As the disease progresses teeth may become loose or develop spaces between them. Pus may also begin to accumulate between teeth and gums. If left untreated, damage to the soft oral tissues occur and patients may experience some bone loss in the oral cavity.
This is the final and most serious stage of gum disease which often results in tooth loss. Patients experience chronic bad breath in addition to loose teeth and swollen gums that bleed. Gums also begin to recede and form deep pockets. This stage of the disease may require multiple dental visits and procedures to correct.
Gum disease must always be diagnosed and treated by a dentist. However, knowing the symptoms can help you to take a proactive approach and recognize when gingivitis may be developing. If you think you may have gum disease, or you have already been diagnosed, make an appointment at the office of Dr. Andrew Holloman today. Don’t let gum disease wreak havoc on your oral health.