Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. There are two stages of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. Thankfully this disease is not contagious. Good old fashion oral care will do the trick and help prevent the infection from worsening. Learn more about both stages of gum disease and how it is caused below:

Gingivitis

In this first stage, a buildup of plaque leads to inflamed and irritated gums. This buildup of plaque can make brushing the teeth a bit painful. Ever wonder why gums sometimes bleed after flossing? This isn’t always a bad thing because the floss is disrupting early stages of gingivitis. Even though the gums are irritated there is little to no damage done to the tooth itself at this stage. However, the inflammation can worsen if this is left untreated.

Periodontitis

In the second stage is where things turn sour. The gums can start to separate from the teeth and leave additional space for debris to reach. In this stage, both the bacteria in the plaque and the body’s own enzymes used to fight these bacteria start to chip away at the tooth bone. Eventually, the teeth can start to loosen and tooth loss can occur.

Causes

While plaque is the primary culprit of gum disease there are other factors that come into play. For example, poor oral hygiene habits make it easier for bacteria to fester on the gums. Other bad habits such as smoking make it difficult for gum tissue to repair itself. Both these causes of gum disease and others are preventable. At your next appointment with Champagne Family Dentistry, talk to your dentist about other causes of gum disease and ways to prevent it.