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Thomas J. Skleba, DDS, FAGD

Sarah S. Brewer, DMD

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The Stages of Gum Disease

The Stages of Gum Disease

Published on March 11th, 2019

Taking care of your teeth is only half the battle; your gums deserve TLC as well! Gum disease, also called periodontitis, is a result of too many bacteria growing in your mouth, specifically on the tissues that surround your teeth. Our dentists in Cary, Il want to help you keep gum disease at bay, and being educated about the topic is half the battle!

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is different than gum disease, but it is the first stage that may end up leading to it if the problem is not addressed. Gingivitis occurs when bacteria and plaque begin to build up to the point that your gums are inflamed and bleeding. At this point, no bone or other tissue damage has occurred. When left untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis.

Effects of Periodontitis

If you have periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone begin to pull away from the teeth and form small pockets. In this space, debris builds up and eventually infect the teeth. Plaque eventually spreads below the gum line and eventually break down the bone and connective tissue. As you can imagine, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Causes

Besides plaque, there are other causes of gum disease. Hormonal changes that take place during transition periods such as pregnancy, puberty, menopause or menstruation make your gums more sensitive, making it easier for gingivitis to develop. Illnesses such as HIV or cancer can also put you at an increased risk of developing infections. Finally, poor oral hygiene habits or a family history of dental disease can also increase your chances of developing gingivitis.

Treatment

If you are worried that you are developing gum disease, it is important to schedule an appointment with our dentists in Cary, Il as soon as possible. In the future, make sure to take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, quitting smoking, maintaining a well-balanced diet, and avoiding clenching and grinding your teeth.

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