You should know a few important facts about gum disease. The word “disease” suggests impairment in the normal state of a living thing, or any abnormal condition that interferes with physiological processes. Since healthy gums are important to healthy teeth — and healthy teeth are important to the process of feeding your body the nutrients that keep it healthy — you can see how gum disease quickly has the potential to influence your overall quality of life.
A recent study revealed that a whopping 65 million American adults have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease. In adults 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to around 71 percent.
When gum diseases are left untreated, they often become major sources of discomfort and pain. Over time, abscesses and ulcerations may form, causing swelling, bleeding, pain and even tooth loss. The first signs of having gum disease mean that the tissue that supports your teeth is infected. This infection is dangerous to the body and can potentially lead to tooth loss and other health risks. The bacteria cause gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums, leaving them red, swollen and likely to bleed.
But if gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to inflammation around the teeth called periodontitis, which is when gum disease starts to get scary. The gums pull away from the teeth, which leaves pockets that become infected.
As soon as you notice a gum infection, you should consult with a periodontist. Once gum infection is diagnosed, you will have numerous treatment options that will vary based on the severity of the gum infection. Here are some common methods of treatment for gum infection:
Since prevention is the best way to avoid gum infection, it’s important to make caring for your teeth and gums a top priority. Take care by brushing and flossing daily, use mouth wash and have regular dental visits.