Understanding Gum Disease: From Gingivitis to Advanced Periodontitis

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understanding gum diseases

Imagine waking up one morning, looking in the mirror, and seeing your gums looking red and swollen instead of their usual healthy pink. You might not think much of it at first, but these could be the early signs of gum disease. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection that affects the tissues supporting your teeth.

It starts with something called gingivitis and can progress to a more severe condition called periodontitis if not treated. Let’s dive into understanding gum disease, from its early stages to its more advanced forms, and learn how to keep our gums healthy or seek bleeding gums treatment in Calgary at the earliest to prevent further damage.

What is Gum Disease, and How Does It Develop?

Gum disease begins with bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria are tiny organisms that can cause infections. Your mouth is full of bacteria, which mix with mucus and other particles to form a sticky, colourless film on your teeth called plaque.

Brushing and flossing your teeth helps remove plaque. However, if plaque is not removed, it can harden and turn into tartar, which brushing doesn’t clean. Tartar can only be removed through a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.

When plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, they can cause inflammation, which is your body’s response to infection. This inflammation can affect your gums and the bones that support your teeth. Over time, this leads to gum disease.

Gingivitis: The Early Stage and Its Warning Signs

Gingivitis is one of the initial gums stages of disease and infection. Gingivitis is the mildest form and is usually reversible with good oral hygiene. If you have gingivitis, your gums might look red and swollen. They may bleed easily, particularly during brushing. Here are some common warning signs of gingivitis:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Tender gums

Gingivitis is chiefly caused by poor oral hygiene. Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly allows plaque to build up, leading to gum disease. The good news is that with regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings, you can reverse gingivitis and keep your gums healthy.

Periodontitis: The Advanced Stages and Their Progression

Without treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which is one of the most advanced receding gum’s stages. Periodontitis occurs when the inflammation spreads deeper into the tissues and bones that support your teeth. As the disease progresses, the gums start to pull away from the teeth, forming spaces called pockets that become infected.

The immune system combats bacteria as the plaque spreads and accumulates beneath the gum line. The bacteria’s toxins and the body’s response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. Here are some signs that gingivitis has progressed to periodontitis:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums that have receded from the teeth
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in your bite
  • Pain when chewing

If periodontitis is not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth can be destroyed. Eventually, teeth may become loose and might need to be removed.

Risk Factors for Developing Periodontitis Beyond Gingivitis

While poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of gum disease, several other factors can increase your risk of developing periodontitis:

  1. Smoking: Tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease. It makes it harder for the gums to heal and respond to treatment.
  2. Hormonal Changes: Changes in hormones during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can make gums more sensitive and prone to gingivitis.
  3. Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk for infections, including gum disease.
  4. Genetics: Some people are more prone to severe gum disease due to their genetic makeup.
  5. Medications: Certain medications can reduce saliva flow, making the mouth more vulnerable to infections like gum disease.
  6. Other Illnesses: Diseases such as cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also affect the health of your gums.

Treatment Options for Different Stages of Gum Disease

The treatment for gum disease depends on how far the condition has progressed. Here are some common treatments:

  1. Good Oral Hygiene: Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash can help prevent and treat gingivitis.
  2. Professional Dental Cleaning: During a regular check-up, your dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, which helps treat and prevent gum disease.
  3. Scaling and Root Planing: For more advanced cases, your dentist might recommend a deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. Scaling removes tartar from above and below the gum line, and root planing smooths rough spots on the tooth root where germs gather, helping remove bacteria that contribute to the disease.
  4. Medications: Your dentist in SE Calgary might prescribe medications to help control the infection and pain. These can include mouth rinses, antibiotic gels, or oral antibiotics.
  5. Surgical Treatments: In severe cases of periodontitis, surgery might be necessary. Procedures like flap surgery can remove tartar deposits in deep pockets or reduce the size of the pocket to make cleaning easier. Bone and tissue grafts can help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that has been lost.

Contact Inglewood Family Dental

Gum disease might sound scary, but it’s important to remember that it starts with something as simple as not brushing your teeth well enough. By keeping up with good oral hygiene practices like brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, you can prevent gingivitis and stop it from turning into periodontitis.

If you notice any unexpected signs of gum disease, it’s crucial to seek emergency dentistry to cure the dental condition right away. At Inglewood Family Dental, we can help treat the problem and keep your smile healthy and bright. Keep in mind that caring for your gums is equally crucial to caring for your teeth.


About Author

Dr. Arash Ravanbakhsh is a skilled Calgary dentist passionate about oral health. Graduating from the University of Alberta, he brings advanced dental knowledge to Inglewood Family Dental. Dedicated to patient care, Dr. Arash also volunteers his time on dental missions, improving oral health globally.