You may not be aware how common “gum disease” is. In fact it is the most common disease faced by Americans. There are different severities of gum disease, each of which have their own set of signs and symptoms.
In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque collects on your teeth, causing the gums to become inflamed and to easily bleed during tooth brushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage.
The good news!! If the problem is discovered at this stage it can be stopped without permanent damage.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontal disease. In a person with periodontal disease, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacterial infection as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. This sounds like it would be painful but most often the patient is unaware that it is occurring. At this point the patient is not able to brush below the gums far enough to remove the bacteria. The periodontal disease will continue to progress below the gums regardless of how much a person brushes or flosses. A professional deep cleaning is the only way to slow or stop the progression of the disease.
Further progression of the disease leads to periodontitis, where toxins or poisons — produced by the bacteria in plaque as well as the body’s “good” enzymes involved in fighting infections — start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When this happens, teeth are no longer anchored in place, they become loose, and tooth loss occurs. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.