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Gum disease becomes a problem most often when people are in their 30s and 40s. Gum disease is a result of bacterial plaque buildup along and under the gum line, and often occurs when it isn’t removed every day.

This happens because your mouth contains millions of bacteria which intermingle with oral debris and mucus to form this sticky, colorless film which coats your tongue, teeth, and gums. You reduce this mix when you take the time to brush and floss every day. This helps keep the plaque from hardening into tartar. Once it hardens, tartar can only be removed using special tools by your periodontist or hygienist.

Over time, plaque and tartar harm your teeth and gums. The gums become inflamed by this substance, which at this stage is known as gingivitis. With gingivitis, your gums can bleed easily, while also reddening and swelling. In this early stage of gum disease, the effect is mild and often irreversible by taking the time to brush and floss every day and seeing your periodontist regularly to remove the tartar.

Eventually, left untreated, gingivitis develops into periodontitis, which is inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. This advanced stage of gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving spaces called pockets. As the pockets become infected, your body’s immune system fights back. This immune response, along with bacterial toxins, allows plaque to spread and multiply beneath the gum line. The result is the breakdown of the bone and connective tissue holding the teeth in place. If periodontitis isn’t treated, the disease will destroy the bones, gums, and tissue supporting your teeth. At that point, those teeth start to loosen and necessitate require removal.

Don’t let gum disease interfere with your healthy smile. Brush and floss daily, and see your periodontist regularly for professional checkups and cleanings. To schedule your next visit with our doctor, Dr. David E. Pearson, please call David E. Pearson DMD PC in Lawrenceville, Georgia, at 770.995.9051 today.