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Your mouth is full of bacteria. Plaque forms on teeth, and without proper brushing, those bacteria will irritate your gums and the soft tissues of your mouth. When you brush or floss, you’ll notice redness and bleeding. Many of our patients feel that, if they don’t have cavities, than nothing else matters. But just because gum disease doesn’t ache like a cavities doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously.
Gingivitis is the first step of gum disease, and it’s completely reversible. As bacteria film (plaque) sticks to your teeth, it irritates your gums. Bad breath, redness, tenderness, and bleeding are all signs of gingivitis. But, with excellent oral hygiene — brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist semi-annually — these effects can be reversed. However, if a patient ignores this relatively harmless stage, gingivitis can quickly develop into periodontitis.
Periodontitis, like gingivitis doesn’t usually hurt. But unlike its reversible, early stage, periodontitis causes permanent detachment to your gum tissue. As the plaque continues to irritate gums, the tissue creeps up the root away from the bacteria-covered crown of the teeth. Once the gum has retreated up the root, it will never return to its original position. Many patients experience heavy bleeding when they brush their teeth — enough that they spit out blood along with tooth paste. But because there is little to no pain, they don’t realize that periodontitis is serious. When left untreated, periodontitis can lead to teeth loosening and then falling out.
Bone Resorption is the final and worst potential symptom of untreated gum disease. The bacteria causing your gums to detach begin to attack and destroy your jaw bones. We don’t need to tell you that bone loss is no fun. In order to treat the bone resorption, your dentist will need to graft artificial bone to the damaged areas. If your gum disease has already progressed to periodontitis, your dentist will ask to take an x-ray to confirm whether you have also suffered from bone resorption.
Both cavities and gum disease can lead to the loss of teeth and bone, but cavities tend to ache and draw attention to themselves. It’s hard to ignore a cavity. Gum disease, on the other hand, is a stealthy, quiet destruction. It will loosen teeth and cause bone loss and only give you bleeding gums as a sign that anything is wrong. Because of this, it’s important to take hygiene seriously. If your gums are bleeding when you brush or floss, you need to step up your oral hygiene now. Your friendly, Calgary dentists at Centennial Smiles can help you get ahead of gum disease with a full, professional cleaning. And our hygienists would be happy to show you proper flossing and brushing techniques to prevent gingivitis in the future.
If you have any questions or concerns about gingivitis, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your dentist. Call us today, so you can learn whether gum disease is affecting your mouth and oral health.