Gum disease is the generic term used to describe the presence of inflammation, infection, change of color and active disease conditions in the gums that surround the teeth. This condition is due to the bodys immune response to plaque biofilm and bacteria in areas that have not been efficiently cleaned on a routine basis such as through daily flossing or proper brushing.
Gum disease is known by several other names such as:
As bacteria invade the areas just under the gumlines, it causes the loss of attached support tissue. This condition ultimately leads to bone loss and tooth mobility. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss, so early diagnosis and intervention is key for effective treatment.
How do you know if you have gum disease? What does gum disease look like? While your dentist or hygienist can easily screen for the condition, it is also possible to identify it for yourself. Early stages of gum disease begin in the simple form of gingivitis, with more advanced stages leading to severe periodontal disease and tooth loss.
It is estimated that upwards of 90% of adults in the U.S. have gingivitis. The CDC finds that approximately 50% of adults have some form of periodontitis.
Classifications of gum disease include:
Mild to moderate inflammation along the gumlines
Red or tender gums
Bleeding when flossing
Subsides within two weeks with thorough preventive care
Bone loss up to four millimeters around the teeth
Early signs of gum recession
Bone loss up to six millimeters around the teeth
Signs of moderate gum recession
Early signs of tooth mobility
Bone loss over six millimeters around the teeth
Severe gum recession
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