Good dental habits can help you keep your smile clean and free from various diseases. Gum disease is one of the easiest to prevent but also one of the most difficult to reverse once it reaches more advanced stages. With the right care and regular visits to your dentist, you can prevent these stages of gum disease.
The first stage of gum disease is commonly referred to as gingivitis. This stage is caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and gums. Regular brushing and flossing are important for removing plaque-causing residue that is leftover on the teeth from food and drinks. Without these healthy dental habits, plaque forms and starts collecting on the gum line. Eventually this plaque creates toxins that irritate the gum line and start the process of gingivitis. Common symptoms of gingivitis include red gums, swollen gums, and gums that bleed during brushing or flossing.
Gingivitis is the first and only reversible stage of gum disease. If gingivitis goes untreated, it will slowly turn into the next stage known as periodontitis. During this stage, it is normal for pockets to form underneath the gum line. These pockets may collect food particles and plaque, resulting in more pain and risk of infection. Other symptoms of periodontitis include changes in the way the teeth fit together and swollen gums. Periodontitis also causes irreversible damage to fibers and bone that support your teeth, posing a number of dental health concerns for the future.
If periodontitis is not treated with professional dental care, it will turn into the final stage of gum disease known as advanced periodontitis. This stage causes the most serious and irreversible damage to the bone and fibers that support the teeth. With little support left, teeth may become loose or even shift position. This can affect your bite and put you at risk for developing other dental issues.
You can learn more about preventing gum disease by scheduling an appointment with Robert C. Brei, DDS. Discover what treatments you can find at our Tucson dental office by checking out our website or calling us at (520) 325-9000.