A severe and chronic form of gum disease, periodontitis is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. If left untreated, periodontitis can not only lead to tooth loss, but also increase your risk of all kinds of health issues, including strokes and diabetes.
The root cause of gum disease is often quite simple: poor oral hygiene. Subpar brushing and flossing habits lead to excess plaque buildup, which hardens into tartar and damages your teeth and gums over time.
Another major cause of periodontitis is tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off inflammation and diminishing the effectiveness of gum treatments.
Preventing gum disease in the first place through proper oral habits is always key, but if gingivitis (the mildest form of gum disease and a precursor to periodontitis) is caught by your dentist in its early stages, professional treatment and proper home care can reverse it before it becomes severe.
Signs of gum disease include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession
- Chronic bad breath
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to help prevent gum problems. If you think you show signs of gum inflammation or disease, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist.