Gum disease is caused by inflammation of your gums due to the bacteria in your mouth. It can arrive without pain and without apparent symptoms—at least not until it has gotten so severe that you may lose the tooth or teeth involved.
Gum disease is also called periodontal disease. It starts as gingivitis which is inflamed gums without any loss of bone surrounding the tooth. If the gingivitis is present for a while, the toxins produced by the bacteria cause the bone to recede down the root of your tooth or teeth and may create pockets that can trap food and more bacteria.
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Pain in mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating
- Gums that are shrinking or pulling away from your teeth
- Persistent bad breath
As mentioned earlier no treatment can mean loss of teeth, loss of supporting jawbone and ligaments that will affect your appearance, speech, and eating.
What causes gum disease? It can be hereditary but it can also be transmitted through kissing, blowing on food, sharing food or utensils. This is particularly true for parents who taste baby food and then use the same spoon to feed the baby.
You are more likely to develop gum disease in adolescence, during pregnancy, in mid-life, and if you are diabetic or have other inflammatory diseases. Stress also seems to be a factor in developing gum disease and people who consume more sweets and sodas (at least 5 times a week) have a higher risk of gum disease.
If you think you have gum disease, talk to your dental professional to find out what treatment is right for you. You can learn more about gum disease at this link: Periodontal (Gum) Disease
*Note: Information in this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare profesionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children in her dental office.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053