Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, affects nearly 50% of adults ages 30 and up, while roughly 70% of adults aged 65 and over have gum disease. Periodontal disease is far more common than you would think, and it can lead to serious health consequences in the future. But what exactly causes it? How can it affect you? And how do you treat it?

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that attacks the gums and surrounding tissue in your mouth. If the disease goes untreated, it can cause the underlying jawbone to dissolve away and your teeth to loosen and fall out. People with periodontal disease usually experience red, swollen, and tender gums that bleed while brushing and flossing. They also may experience pain when eating, bad breath, and a receding gum line.

There are three types of periodontal disease: gingivitis, mild periodontitis, and moderate to advanced periodontitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Usually, the gums are red and swollen, and they may bleed while you’re brushing them. Proper treatment from a dentist can easily help these issues. Mild periodontitis is when gingivitis advances and begins to recede the gums away from teeth. This may also cause bone loss in the jaw. If you notice crevices between the teeth and gums, visit a dentist as soon as possible to prevent the disease from progressing into advanced periodontitis. During this state, the mouth shows a significant bone loss, deepened periodontal pockets, and receding gums. Teeth may also become loose and need an extraction.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

As with most oral diseases, the primary cause is plaque buildup. Improper daily cleanings will cause bacteria to build up under the gums, leading to disease. There are, however, some other factors that can contribute to its development. Other factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Low-nutrient diets
  • Smoking & tobacco use
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Hormones
  • Teeth grinding
  • Medications
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

Treatments are available for those suffering from periodontal disease. However, these treatments may differ depending on the severity of the disease. Someone with a mild case would likely need plaque and tartar removal from beneath the gums. If the disease is more severe, your dentist may prescribe an antibacterial to help fight off any remaining bacteria.

If you have already experienced tooth loss, surgery may be required to rebuild bone loss and replace your missing teeth. Bone grafts are one such treatment. This is when your dentist takes bone from another part of your body and inserts it into the jawbone to help stimulate bone growth. Once your jawbone regains its strength, a dental implant can replace your missing tooth.

Once an implant is placed, your dentist will work with you to ensure you’re maintaining proper care of your implants and gums. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to implant failure.

Smile Again with DICE Dental

If periodontal disease has led to tooth loss and a loss of confidence, DICE Dental has an expert team who can help you smile again. We offer affordable dental implants, tooth extractions, and CEREC crowns. During a free consultation, we will take x-rays and walk you through the treatment option that is best for you. Request an appointment today.