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Gum Disease Explained


Keeping your gums healthy is essential when it comes to oral care. While you might feel like your teeth are more important, your gums actually need just as much attention if you want to avoid gum disease. This isn't just a disease that affects senior citizens. In fact, by the age of 35, three out of four adults develop some form of gum disease. Plus, recent studies indicate that the risk of these conditions developing increases after age 35.

Looking at stages of gum disease pictures is one fast way to make you take this condition more seriously. But what exactly is gum disease and how does it affect your oral health? Read about these stages of gum disease to learn more.


The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It is often indicated by inflammation of the gums where they appear red, swollen or even bleeding. The inflammation associated with gingivitis is caused by bacteria in excess plaque on the teeth. Regular visits to the dentist along with effective dental care products like electric toothbrushes can help to reverse these symptoms.


When left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. This is an infection of the gums that can actually lead to destruction of the bone and gums around the teeth. If periodontitis becomes too severe, your dentist may recommend surgery to treat it.

Detection can be a problem with gum disease since it is sometimes painless and hard to detect with the naked eye. That's why it's so important to visit your dentist regularly and, if you do have gum disease, a dentist specialist in gums. But in between appointments, you also need to tend to your gums in order to reduce the risk of gum disease. At Dental-Mart, we offer a wide selection of products that help you maintain healthy teeth and gums, all of which are available at incredible discounted prices.

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Healthy gums and teeth

How can you avoid gum disease and its unpleasant consequences? The answer is simple. Exercise good judgment -- brush properly and floss every day. Also, see your dentist for regular cleanings. If you have neglected to do this, start today with a visit to your dentist. If periodontal disease is treated in the early stages, many times the damage can be reversed.

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There are two stages of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. The first, gingivitis, is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria in plaque. The gums become red, swollen and bleed upon brushing. Normal bacteria in the mouth forms a thin film of plaque continuously on tooth surfaces. It's that sticky feeling on your teeth when you wake up in the morning. If plaque is not removed every day, it eventually hardens into calculus (tartar). Once calculus forms it can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist with special instruments. Gingivitis is curable with treatment from your dentist, followed by proper brushing and flossing at home. The advanced cordless toothbrushes and other oral healthcare products recommended by DentalMart (tm) will help you prevent plaque build up and maintain healthy gums and teeth.

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Moderate Periodontitis

If not corrected, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is a low grade infection of the gums. At this stage, even a high quality tooth brush may not control the disease because of the amount of calculus accumulated around the teeth. Bacteria in the calculus produces waste products which create toxins and volatile sulfur compounds. Toxins destroy the bone and gums around the teeth leading to the development of a periodontal pocket. A pocket is an abnormal deepening of the natural crevice or space between the teeth and gums. These spaces or crevices in healthy gums are normally 1 to 3mm deep. Periodontal pockets are a perfect environment for infection and if left untreated will painlessly progress deeper and deeper. If the pocket progresses beyond the normal depth of 3mm and reaches a depth of 5mm it is known as moderate periodontal disease. The volatile sulfur compounds produced by the bacteria are the leading cause of bad breath.

Even teeth that look healthy can be hiding pockets where bone is being destroyed. To evaluate for hidden gum disease your dentist will recommend x-rays and periodontal probing. The periodontal probe is a special instrument for measuring the pocket depth around each tooth. Periodontal disease is rarely confined to one tooth. It usually involves several teeth and may effect all of them. If your pockets are 5mm or less your dentist may suggest non surgical treatment involving special scaling of your teeth over several visits. At completion of this treatment, the dentist will reprobe your gums to evaluate the results. If the pockets decrease to a depth of 1-3mm, the periodontitis may be under control.

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Advanced Periodontitis

If there is no improvement or if your original pockets are in excess of 6mm (advanced periodontitis) your dentist may recommend surgery. Your dentist may perform the procedure or refer you to a gum specialist called a periodontist. The surgical procedure is performed to remove diseased tissue and allow the dentist to thoroughly clean the tooth structure. This makes it more difficult for plaque and calculus to accumulate. If the disease has caused a defect in the bone, your dentist may reshape the area or perform a bone graft procedure. The gums are sutured into place around the teeth, usually at a lower level than before the procedure in order to eliminate the pockets. Now you can keep the area free of plaque with daily brushing and flossing.

If periodontitis is not treated it will slowly and painlessly destroy the bone which supports the teeth. Untreated, the disease will eventually cause tooth loss. But it doesn't have to be that way! Early detection of gum disease, good professional care, and proper oral hygiene with DentalMart's (tm) oral health care products will guarantee a lifetime of healthy teeth and a great smile.