While it is easy to see how you’d lose a tooth in a hard fall or if the tooth was severely decayed, it may be harder to understand how gum disease causes tooth loss. The truth is, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. What’s even more frightening, the CDC reports that nearly half of the American population has some form of periodontal disease.
Before you panic, it is important to understand that just because you were diagnosed with periodontal disease, doesn’t mean your teeth are about to fall out. There are progressive stages of gum disease. Only at its most advanced, untreated stage does gum disease cause tooth loss.
Here’s a closer look at how gum disease eventually causes such a detrimental outcome, and how you can avoid it.
In most cases, gum disease begins with the accumulation of bacteria and plaque along the gums due to poor oral hygiene. Not removing hardened plaque will cause irritation within these soft tissues. Bleeding, puffiness and redness may be apparent. This stage is often diagnosed as gingivitis, but gum disease is very treatable at this point.
If gum disease treatment is neglected, the gums will become badly infected. Eventually the gums pull away from the tooth roots and form deep pockets, which harbor even more bacteria and plaque. The infection can not only destroy the supportive tissues of your teeth, but it can also attack your underlying bone. Without proper bone and tissues to hold your teeth in place, your teeth may lose stability. At this advanced stage (periodontitis), you may have no choice but to extract the tooth or let it fall out on its own.
Not only does gum disease wreck your smile, it can also threaten your overall health. Periodontal disease has been linked to stroke, heart disease, diabetes and premature births! For the sake of your teeth and your body, seek gum disease treatment as soon as you notice symptoms. Park South Dentistry offers excellence in periodontal therapy, including deep cleanings and more advanced procedures.