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Comprehensive Guide to Different Gum Disease Stages

It’s common to see blood while brushing your teeth, especially if you brush aggressively. However, if it happens regularly, it could be a sign of gum disease. In this article, we will discuss gum disease stages, causes, prevention, and treatment. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. 47.2 % of adults over the age of 30 years have some form of gum disease. It means, almost half of the entire population of the United States is affected by it. Yet, some people remain unaware of its insidious effects on their overall health until it progresses to advanced stages. To prevent that, let’s have a close look at gum disease stages. 

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a layman’s term used for periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is inflammation or infection of periodontium, which is a term used to describe tissues supporting and investing your teeth. Periodontium include, 

  • Cementum
  • Gingival tissue
  • Periodontal Ligaments
  • Alveolar bone

If left untreated, these tissues can lose their grip around your teeth and fall out. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss

What Causes Gum Disease?

It all stems from poor oral hygiene. When you go to sleep without brushing your teeth, bacteria in your mouth feed on the leftovers and deposit a sticky substance called plaque over your teeth. Plaque hardens to form tartar (calculus), and if not cleaned, this tartar can accumulate even beneath your gum line, causing your gums to get inflamed and recede. 

Some people are more likely to get gum disease than others. Following are the risk factors that predispose you to gum disease. 

  • Genetics – In some people, genetic makeup increases their chances of getting gum disease. 
  • Habits – People who smoke or consume tobacco or beetle nut are more prone to get gum disease. 
  • Hormonal changes – Hormonal changes like puberty, pregnancy, or menopause increase the progression of gum disease. 
  • Systemic Diseases – People with systemic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, HIV, or autoimmune diseases have depressed immune systems and higher chances of getting gum disease. 
  • Medications – Certain medications compromise the oral health of people taking them.
  • Malnutrition – A diet that lacks essential nutrients, especially vitamin C, can lead to gum disease. 

Gum Disease Stages

The progression of gum disease reduces the possibility of its reversal. That is why, it is crucial to address and reverse it in the early stages. Let’s have a look at various gum disease stages. 

Gum disease stages are mainly classified into two, namely, 

Gingivitis:

Gingivitis is an early-stage, reversible periodontal disease. In this stage, the inflammation induced by pathogens is confined to soft tissues only. Symptoms include red and mildly swollen gums that bleed on brushing and flossing, as well as supra-gingival calculus. The beginning stages of gum disease are often overlooked because they are painless and do not cause any discomfort to the patient.

Periodontitis:

Periodontitis occurs when bacteria penetrate the gums and reach the periodontium. At this stage, the damage is irreversible.

Depending upon the severity of symptoms, periodontitis is further classified as,

Mild Periodontitis:

When inflammation persists for a longer period, the normal gap between teeth and gums (periodontal pockets) widens. It also causes calculus to form beneath the gum line, known as sub-gingival calculus. In this stage, inflammation reaches Periodontal Ligaments, bands connecting the teeth to the bone. There is still no pain in mild periodontitis, but the symptoms are aggravated. 

Moderate Periodontitis:

Moderate periodontitis occurs when the damage to the periodontium increases even more, increasing the risk of tooth loss. At this stage, some people may develop bad breath, a metallic taste, pain, or sensitivity to hot and cold food. In some, it can still be painless. 

Severe Periodontitis:

It is the last of the human periodontal disease stages, leading to tooth loss. In this stage, teeth become loose, and mobility can be felt through touch or mastication. Teeth may appear longer due to receding gums and bone. In some cases, gums may swell due to the formation of an abscess. 

How to Prevent Gum Disease?

Prevention is better than cure. Maintaining oral hygiene saves your teeth and improves your quality of life. Here are some tips to maintain gum health.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily.
  • Floss between your teeth regularly.
  • Avoid smoking or any other addictive habits.
  • Start eating a balanced diet. 
  • Eliminate stress from your life.
  • Use a mouthwash recommended by your dentist. 
  •  Healthy gums do not bleed. Do not ignore any gum disease symptoms.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for scaling and root planning. 

How to Treat Gum Disease?

Treatment options depend upon the gum disease stages. As stated earlier, gingivitis is a reversible condition and it can easily be treated by proper brushing, flossing, and following other oral hygiene instructions.

However, treatment options for periodontitis vary. In the early stages, periodontitis can be treated by scaling and root planning, which is a method of removing supra-gingival and sub-gingival calculus. 

In more extensive periodontitis, your dentist might consider pocket reduction surgery or osseous surgery. It is a way to remove the tartar deposited deep in your pockets by raising a flap. Later, your gums can be repositioned and reattached.

If periodontitis has caused receded gums or bone, your dentist might do bone grafting or tissue grafting. In these procedures, bone and tissue grafts are placed around your teeth to restore their anatomy. If tooth loss has occurred, you might have to consider restorative options.

Conclusion

After reading this article, you should have a comprehensive understanding of gum disease stages, causes, and treatment. If you notice any signs of gum disease, do not ignore them; book a consultation with our dental experts in Blairstown, NJ.

Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall well-being. Take the first step towards healthier gums and brighter smiles. Book your appointment now with our dentists in Newton, NJ.

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