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Gum Disease: Causes and Symptoms

Periodontal disease or gum disease is caused by bacterial growth in your mouth and if not treated properly, you may end up with the more advanced form called periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss due to breakdown of the gum and bone tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth.

According to a survey conducted by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nearly 64.7 million people in the United States aged 30 years and older have periodontal disease. That is almost half of the American population!

One of the major reasons why this disease is so common is because it is painless. It’s known as a silent disease. It silently grows over time and then once it is widely spread, only then the disease shows the signs of its existence.

Causes of Gum Disease

The primary reason for periodontal disease is plaque and bacterial buildup. There are several different factors that can contribute to the buildup of plaque and bacteria. These include:

  • Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause can affect production of saliva enabling the disease to grow and make gums more sensitive to the bacteria.
  • Heavy doses of medications for diseases such as cancer and HIV interfere with the immune system. This can put you at higher risk of developing infections.
  • Unhealthy habits like smoking and heavy consumption of liquor make it harder for your gum tissues to heal. These habits also interfere with the body’s production of saliva.
  • Poor oral hygiene such as not flossing and brushing on a daily basis makes it easier for the disease to spread.
  • Having family history of periodontal disease.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The painless progression of the gum disease does produce a few obvious signs, even before reaching the later stages. These include:

  • Swelling of the gums
  • Gum bleeding (during and after brushing of teeth)
  • Having bad taste or bad breath in the mouth
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Evident deep pockets between gums and teeth

Many of these symptoms can be quite hard to notice. For this reason, it is recommended that you visit your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings. Your dentist will be able to recognize any signs of periodontal disease and suggest ways you can keep it from getting worse.

Only a periodontist or a dentist can recognize and determine the presence of gum disease. If you live in Western Massachusetts and think you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, visit our Locations page to find the nearest office or give us a call. At Baystate Dental, we provide convenient and affordable services for every member of your family.

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