How Does Gum Disease Affect Your Teeth?

gum disease

How Does Gum Disease Affect Your Teeth?

Healthy gums do not bleed, so if your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth then you may have gum disease. Over time, this disease destroys your gums and jawbone, leading to tooth loss. Detecting and treating gum disease in its earliest stages gives you a better chance of preserving your gums, jawbone, teeth, and overall smile. If you are experiencing any gum disease symptoms, Dr. Saba and Associates can help you maintain your oral health with expert care and treatment. 

What Is Gum Disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection that attacks your gums and weakens the bones that support your teeth, causing irreversible damage when left untreated. According to the CDC, around 70% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease. People who smoke, suffer from dry mouth, have diabetes, or have poor oral hygiene all have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. 

Gum disease is a progressive disease, meaning it will only get worse over time, like dementia or osteoarthritis. As the disease progresses, symptoms become more severe and more painful. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through bleeding gums, allowing the infection to circulate throughout your body. As a result, gum disease is especially dangerous for people with diabetes, underlying heart conditions, or respiratory disease, as well as those who are immunocompromised. 

How the Different Stages of Gum Disease Affect Your Teeth

Stage 1: Gingivitis

The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which is silent and painless like high blood pressure. Gingivitis is much easier to control than the more advanced stages of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque on your teeth that irritates and inflames the gums. Gums that are red, tender, swollen, or bleed easily are a sign that you have gingivitis. 

Luckily, you can easily manage the symptoms of gingivitis with good oral hygiene and professional teeth cleanings. Gingivitis can go away if treated soon enough, but it will quickly return if you don’t take care of your oral health. Once gum disease progresses beyond gingivitis, it leads to irreversible consequences such as gum recession and bone loss.

Stage 2: Periodontitis

When plaque hardens into tartar, it becomes more difficult to remove the harmful bacteria attacking your teeth and gums. This allows gingivitis to rapidly progress into periodontitis. This moderate stage of periodontal disease never goes away. However, you can manage the effects and halt its progression with ongoing treatment and frequent professional teeth cleanings.

Symptoms of periodontitis can include:

  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pus along the gumline
  • Tender gums
  • New gaps between teeth

As periodontitis progresses, your gums continue to pull away from your teeth, forming pockets that can collect food and plaque. Once periodontal pockets begin to form, you cannot keep the bacteria under control on your own with simple brushing and flossing. At this stage, scaling and root planing is the best way to effectively remove plaque and tartar under your gum line.  

Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis

Gum disease is actually the leading cause of tooth loss—the longer it goes untreated, the lower the chance of keeping your teeth becomes. Advanced periodontitis destroys the gums and jawbone, causing your teeth to shift, loosen, and eventually fall out. If the disease is left untreated to this stage, extensive treatments such as surgery and bone or soft tissue grafts will likely be necessary to maintain your oral health. Some or all of your remaining teeth may also need to be extracted in order to restore your smile with dental implants or dentures

Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatment in Sun Lakes, Arizona

Drs. Saba and Romanin have been restoring smiles in the Sun Lakes community for over 30 years. We provide gentle teeth cleanings and non-surgical gum disease treatments to help prevent and mitigate the varying stages of gum disease. If you notice any signs of periodontal disease, or if you are experiencing other dental problems, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/21/2022). Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels