What Causes Gum Disease
Gum disease, simply put, is an infection of the gums. It is caused by plaque, a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that irritate the gums, causing them to become inflamed and to bleed easily.
Over a period of time, if the irritation persists, the gums pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. Plaque then forms in these pockets. Eventually the infection starts destroying the gum tissue and the underlying bone. The teeth may then become loose and fall out or need to be removed.
What Happens During an Exam?
Your dentist will check the color and firmness of your gums, make sure your teeth are not loose and make sure your teeth fit together properly when you bite.
An instrument called a probe is inserted between your tooth and gum to determine if the gum has detached from the teeth. X-rays also help determine if any bone has been destroyed.
Road to Healthy Gums: Good Oral Hygiene
You don’t have to lose your teeth because of gum disease. Remember to brush and floss daily, eat a balanced diet and see if you notice any of the following:
* Gums that bleed during tooth-brushing
* Red, swollen or tender gums
* Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
* Persistent bad breath
* Pus between the teeth and gums
* Loose or separating teeth
* A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
* A change in the fit of partial dentures
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