Nearly half of American adults suffer from gum disease, which can lead to inflammation, bleeding, and recession of the gums and even tooth loss. Despite the potential severity of this condition, it is reversible in its early stages. To help you maintain excellent oral health, the dentists from the practice of Drs. Emery & Scuro in Rochester, NY, share vital information about the stages of gum disease.
The Difference Between Gingivitis & Periodontitis
Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, occurs when bacterial plaque and tartar build up on teeth, especially near the gums. The bacteria can cause swelling and inflammation of the gum tissue. People who have gingivitis might notice bleeding while brushing or flossing, along with oral sensitivity and bad breath. The effects of gingivitis can be reversed with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist.
If untreated, gingivitis can advance to become periodontitis. Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis can damage bone and oral tissue permanently. It causes the inner layers of the gums to separate from the teeth gradually, forming small pockets. These pockets collect food and plaque that could become infected, causing the body’s immune system to attempt to combat the bacteria as it spreads below the gum line.
Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque will begin to break down connective tissue and bone. As periodontitis progresses, the teeth and gum tissue will deteriorate further, and the pockets will grow deeper. This often causes the teeth to loosen and fall out — periodontitis is the most prevalent cause of tooth loss in Americans over age 18. At this point, restorative measures like implants, bridges, and dentures might be the only solutions to restore the function and appearance of the mouth.
To prevent gingivitis and periodontitis, preventive dental care is essential. Brush and floss regularly, maintain a healthy diet, and visit your dentist twice a year for teeth cleanings and checkups. For quality oral health care in Rochester, NY, look to Drs. Emery & Scuro. Call (585) 247-7110 to schedule an appointment and visit their website for more information about their services. Like them on Facebook for news and dental care tips from the practice.