If you want healthy teeth, your gums need to be in good shape too. Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is a chronic bacterial infection that can affect both your gums and the bones supporting your teeth.
Certain factors contribute to gum disease, such as poor dental hygiene and smoking. Stress, an unhealthy diet and chronic diseases such as diabetes can also attack your gums. People with uncontrolled diabetes have worse gum disease that those who have their disease under control.
In early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis.
- Is characterized by swollen, red, bleeding gums.
- Is considered a mild form of the disease and can be treated with daily brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings.
- Is usually reversible.
A more severe form of gum disease is called periodontitis.
- Is characterized by seriously damaged gums that begin to pull away from the teeth.
- May result in the loss of supporting bone.
- May require surgery and is not reversible.
What do you do? Practice good oral care to prevent gum disease. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, paying special attention to the gum line, and floss once a day. Don’t smoke. And see your dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned and checked! Go here for more facts about gum disease.