Periodontal disease, or “gum disease” as it’s more commonly referred to, is a bacterial infection affecting the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth. There are different severities of gum disease ranging from gingivitis to advanced periodontal disease.
The most important thing to remember with any level of gum disease is that you must do your part to protect your teeth. There can be factors out of your control that contribute to periodontal disease, but your first line of defense is diligent oral hygiene practices. You should brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and use a fluoride mouth rinse.
Gum disease occurs when bacteria combines with food particles left around the teeth and forms plaque. Plaque is usually removed by brushing, but when not all of it is removed the leftover plaque hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar build-up cannot be cleaned off with simple brushing. The longer the tartar is present, the worse the damage will be.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis is characterized by red, puffy gums that are quick to bleed after brushing or flossing. Next are increasingly advanced levels of periodontal disease. What makes them different from gingivitis is the fact that the bacteria has gone deeper than the gums, affecting the tooth structure.
Periodontal disease can go for some time without being detected. That’s why it is important to maintain regular visits to your dentist to ensure a condition such as this one does not go untreated.