Do you know the No. 1 cause of tooth loss in the United States?
If you said tooth decay, you would be wrong.
If you said accidents … you would be wrong, too.
The correct answer is gum disease.
This is just one of the reasons the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing between your teeth and gums every day. Brushing and flossing remove bacteria that cause gum disease as well as the sticky plaque that allows bacteria to remain closer to your teeth and gums.
The preventive dentistry we offer at Bayou Dental Care in Monroe, LA, is intended to reduce your risk of problems like gum disease. We want you to know what your gums do for you, and the consequences if you don’t care for them correctly.
What Do Gums Do?
Scientifically speaking, gums are the “mucosal tissue” that cover the mandible (jawbone) and maxilla (upper jaw) in your mouth.
Your teeth are divided into two major sections.
The crowns are the part that is visible above your gumline. This part of your teeth is covered with protective enamel, which is the hardest substance in the human body.
The roots are below your gumline and are covered with cementum. Cementum does offer some protection, but it is not as hard as enamel.
Your gums provide additional protection for the roots of your teeth. They also help to hold your teeth in place.
Your roots are anchored in your upper and lower jaw, but without your gums, they would be much looser and more likely to fall out.
To put it simply, your gums are a protective barrier that helps to keep infections away from the roots of your teeth. They also provide support to hold your teeth in place.
Symptoms And Types Of Gum Disease
In a broad sense, there are two types of gum disease. They are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the milder form of periodontal disease. If it isn’t treated correctly it can develop into advanced gum disease.
One symptom of gingivitis is gums that bleed when you are flossing or brushing your teeth. This should be considered a clue that you are not flossing and brushing as often as you should or that you aren’t flossing and brushing correctly.
Another symptom is gums that appear redder than usual or that appear swollen.
The good news is that you often can reverse gingivitis with proper oral hygiene practices.
If you don’t treat your gum disease at this early stage, it can turn into periodontitis.
This kind of periodontal disease is not something you can treat at home. You will need to visit a dentist office, like Bayou Dental Group, to have the infection removed from your mouth.
So what are the symptoms of periodontitis?
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that hurt or feel tender
- Gums that are pulling away from your teeth
- Gums that have pockets inside them
- Teeth that feel loose in their sockets
- Pus leaking from your gums or between your teeth and gums
The American Academy of Periodontology recognizes four different kinds of periodontitis. They are:
- Chronic periodontitis
This is the most common type of gum disease. This causes inflammation of the gum tissues that support your teeth. You also will experience gum recession and bone loss with this form of periodontal disease. Usually, this happens gradually with this condition.
This is more common in adults, but it can happen to children as well.
- Aggressive periodontitis
This type of periodontitis is common in people who are otherwise considered healthy. The characteristics of this form of periodontitis are quick gum recession (when gums pull away from your teeth) and damage to the bones that hold your teeth in your mouth.
- Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases
This can begin at an early age, and it can be a symptom of other health issues. Diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory diseases are a few of the common conditions that are known to correlate with this form of gum disease.
- Necrotizing periodontal disease
This form of gum disease causes necrosis in your gums and the bones that support your teeth. Necrosis is the death of cells in the tissues. In this case, it would be your gums.
You may notice lesions forming on your gums if you are suffering from malnutrition or a disease that suppresses your immune system, such as HIV.
Keep Flossing And Come See Us
We don’t want anyone to suffer any form of gum disease. This is why we are happy to answer any questions you have about your oral care at home and why we offer preventive dental care at our dentist office in Monroe, LA.