If gums are neglected, gum disease can occur. The kinds of disease ranges from simple gum inflammation, which is called gingivitis, to serious damage to the tissue and bone supporting the teeth, called periodontitis. In severe cases, you can actually lose teeth.
Kinds of Gum Diseases
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease and it usually precedes periodontitis, which is a gum disease that is known to lead to tooth loss in adults. However, it is important to know that not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. In gingivitis, the gums are red and swollen, and they bleed easily.
Because this is a mild form of gum disease, it is easily reversible by daily brushing and flossing of teeth, and by regular cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis has long been known as the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. If you have periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected.
If not treated, the bones, gums, and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. But the damage isn’t confined to the mouth. Gum disease has also been associated with an increased risk of serious degenerative diseases.
Over the years, it’s been found that people with periodontitis have higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, pregnancy complications, and dementia.
Common Causes of Gum Disease
Plaque is the main cause of gum disease, but with this being said, there are other known factors that can contribute to this problem. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation can make gums more sensitive. This sensitivity can make it easier for gingivitis to develop.