Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is a serious condition that can compromise your oral health. It is an infection of the gum tissues which support your teeth. When plaque and tartar build up on your teeth over an extended period of time, these bacteria can irritate and harm your gum tissue, leading to infection. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually affect the bone structure which supports your teeth and gums, leading to tooth loss.
In addition, there is considerable research documenting the harmful impact gum disease can have to your overall general health. Gum disease has been linked to serious conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Preterm birth
It is important to maintain a good daily oral hygiene regimen of brushing and flossing, and visit Dr. Aboulkhair twice a year for a dental checkup and teeth cleaning.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are two stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis – An early, milder phase of gum disease. Gingivitis only impacts your gum tissue, resulting in red, swollen, and bleeding gums.
- Periodontitis – A later and more severe phase of gum disease that impacts the bone supporting your teeth as well as the gum tissue. Periodontitis may cause your gums to recede from your teeth, resulting in the formation of deep pockets of bacteria. If left untreated, periodontitis can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.
Causes of Gum Disease
The primary cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene practices which allow plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth, damaging your gum tissue and creating harmful pockets of bacteria.
Other risk factors of gum disease include:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Genetic predisposition
- Health conditions which affect your body’s ability to fight off infection
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Gum sensitivity
- Swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Red or purple gums
- Pus discharge from gum tissue
- Loose teeth
- Receding gum line
If your gum disease is still in the mild gingivitis phase, you may be able to treat it by working harder to maintain proper daily oral hygiene practices and visiting Dr. Aboulkhair for regular dental cleanings. You may need to come to our Fairfax dental office more than twice a year to prevent your gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis.
However, if your gum disease has become more advanced and progressed into periodontitis, you will require more aggressive periodontal treatment to improve the health of your gums. This may include:
- Scaling and root planning
- Arestin antibiotic treatments
- Laser Periodontal Therapy
Please contact Aesthetic Dentistry of Fairfax using the form at the right side of the page or call (703) 218-8142 today to schedule your initial consultation. Dr. Aboulkhair serves patients throughout Northern Virginia.