If your gums are tender or bleeding, chances are you have gum disease! Gum disease is an infectious disease that starts between your tooth and gum tissue. Bacteria live there and when too many move in, they form plaque. Plaque and tartar (hard build-up) irritate your gums, which causes swelling and bleeding. Serious gum disease is called periodontitis. Severe periodontitis damages your gums, teeth, and your overall health can deteriorate.
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- Healthy gum tissue is pink and firm and does not bleed.
- Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. The gum tissue is tender, reddish, may bleed when you brush or floss. This is the only stage of gum disease that can be reversed.
- Early/Moderate periodontitis is when your gum tissue starts to pull away from your teeth, leaving a gap or pocket. Harmful bacteria build up in these pockets and the gum tissue gets more irritated, infected, and may bleed. Your teeth can get sensitive because the root is exposed.
- Advanced periodontitis is when the bacteria spreads, you lose gum tissue and bone that supports the teeth. The gum tissue pulls farther away and pockets get deeper. Your teeth get loose, shift, and may fall out.
What causes Gum disease?
- If you are not brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily
- Dry mouth (saliva helps wash away bacteria)
- Foods and drinks with too much sugar
- Using any form of tobacco
- Changes in the body during pregnancy
- A history of gum disease in your family increases your chances of getting it
- Diabetic patients are prone to more infections (like gum disease)
- Missing appointments with your dentist. You should have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year.
Pediatric Dental Center
Dr. Shah, Dr. O’Riordan