47.2 percent of adults over 30 have had some form of gum disease.
Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a common oral infection characterized by an inflammation of the gums and bones of the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can cause lasting damage to your gums and teeth.
We’ve outlined the four main stages of gum disease in this guide to help you maintain your oral health.
Stage One: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is caused by build-up of bacteria in the mouth. Without regular brushing and flossing, this bacteria leads to plaque build-up. Your immune system responds to the plaque by inflaming your gums.
A key indicator of Gingivitis is frequent irritation and bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth. Some people may also notice a white discharge called exudate in the gums.
Reaching out to a dental professional at the early stages is the only way to cure gum disease without any lasting damage.
A dentist will be able to remove the plaque causing the Gingivitis and restore the teeth and gums to their original health.
Stage Two: Early Gum Disease
The second stage of gum disease involves plaque hardening into tartar. This hardened substance can infiltrate the gums, making it difficult to remove.
One of the early signs of gum disease is paler, sensitive gums. This is due to the hardened tartar decreasing blood flow to the gums.
This stage will compromise the bone structure of your teeth. If left unchecked, it will eventually cause your teeth to loosen.
Stage Three: Moderate Gum Disease
At this stage, the gums start receding. The inflammation spreads to your exposed enamel, creating added sensitivity and discomfort.
Your teeth will become noticeably looser and may change position.
An oral discharge will create an unpleasant taste in your mouth. This is also indicative of the worsening infection.
Moderate gum disease poses a serious risk to the long-term health of your teeth.
Stage Four: Severe Gum Disease
Advanced gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Once the disease has progressed to this stage, your gums will have shrunk down noticeably, exposing large portions of your teeth.
The infection will also start attacking your jawbone, causing healthy teeth to become loose. This can cause soreness when eating or biting down.
You will likely experience worsening breath along with an increase in oral discharge. Abscesses are also common at this stage, forming in the soft tissue in between the teeth and gums.
Severe gum disease results in permanent damage to your teeth.
Knowing the Stages of Gum Disease
Intervening in the early stages of gum disease is the only way to stop the infection from compromising your oral health.
Knowing the signs of gum disease is key to early treatment.
Practicing proper oral hygiene can help you prevent gum disease before it progresses. Brushing and flossing twice daily is the best way to keep your gums looking and feeling healthy.
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