Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease is responsible for about 70 percent of adult tooth loss. Plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva and bacteria gets inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus or tartar that is very difficult to remove. Eventually, the bacteria in the plaque and tartar eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. As bacteria spreads, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eats away the bone that holds the tooth in place.
The following symptoms can alert your dentist to the possibility of gum disease:
- Red gums
- Gums that begin bleeding quickly
- Chronic bad breath
- Gums that are pulling away from the tooth structure
- Teeth that have gradually changed their alignment.
You definitely want to keep an eye out for gum disease, and you should not ignore symptoms of unhealthy gums. Ignoring gum disease can lead to serious problems throughout the mouth and body. However, the good news is that it is usually quite possible to return unhealthy gums to a natural and healthy state if proper treatment is carried out.
Without question, good oral hygiene is the simplest and most effective treatment for gum disease. Thorough attention to proper brushing, flossing and rinsing, as well as visiting your dentist regularly will keep your gums healthy. A lack of attention to these good oral hygiene habits can soon bring about sore and unhealthy gums.