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Gum Disease Causes Bone and Teeth Loss

Updated on October 10, 2012

Gum disease is a serious condition that affects hundreds of people. Gum disease doesn't discriminate when choosing victims, and isn't a disease that targets certain populations like the poor, old, homeless, etc. However, some people are more susceptible to getting gum disease based on their oral hygiene habits, and failure to maintain regular dental check ups. Flossing and brushing after each meal, (or at least two meals), will greatly reduce the chances of developing this condition. If gum disease is ignored, it can ultimately result in the loss of one or many of your teeth.

Early Stages of Gum Disease

At its earliest stages gum disease is almost undetectable. Gingivitis is a precursor to full blown gum disease. If you experience bleeding of the gums when brushing your teeth, this could indicate future problems and you should speak to your dentist about it. Once gum disease has started, it is progressive and cannot be cured without the help of a professional.

As it progresses, bacteria from the disease gets trapped in pockets below the gum line and progressively destroys the tissue, detaching the gums from the teeth. The deeper the pockets between the teeth and gums, the more severe the disease has become. Food and other particles get trapped in these pockets and bacteria continues to grow and eat away at the gums.

Loose Gum Tissue and Bone Loss

As time progresses and gum disease goes on untreated, the gums will begin to recede and will continue to recede all the way down to root exposure. The gums begin separating from the teeth and the pockets between teeth become deeper and deeper, holding more and more bacteria. Once the pockets become this deep it is virtually impossible to remove all food particles and bacteria by flossing alone, and at this point intervention from a specialist, called a Periodontist should be sought.

A periodontist uses a technique called scaling and planing to clean and scrape the bacteria and surface of the teeth below the gum line in order to stop the progression of the disease. If the disease has become too far advanced the bacteria starts eating into the jaw bone around the teeth. When this happens bone loss occurs and the periodontist may have to do a bone graft and sometimes gum grafts to replace the missing part of gums.

Once enough bone loss has occurred the teeth will begin to shift around and become loose because they have lost a substantial part of their anchoring system--the jaw bone. The most advanced cases of gum disease will eventually lead to tooth loss of one or multiple teeth. Once you lose one tooth the others will soon follow because they have the ability to shift due to the loss of support from the missing tooth. When teeth start shifting, they too will eventually become lose and fall out. The only option at this point would be some type of denture, or dental implant. However, dental implants aren't always an option for people suffering from gum disease due to the loss of bone to anchor the implant.

Gum disease can be prevented by routine dental checkups, brushing, and flossing regularly and good oral hygiene. If you already have receding gums and bad breath, chances are you haven't been seeing the dentist regularly and could already be in the one of the treatable stages of the disease. It is important to be proactive if you suspect you have gum disease and get proper help from a professional before it is too late and your smile suffers.

© 2012 crissytsu


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