What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a gum tissue infection that can eventually spread to the underlying bone structure.
The infection is caused by oral bacteria that live in plaque and calculus (commonly known as tartar). Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on the teeth, around the gum line, between the teeth, and even on the roots.
If plaque is not removed regularly, it will calcify and turn into calculus, a very hard substance that cannot be removed with home dental tools.
Due to poor oral hygiene habits, genetics, diet (particularly sugar intake), or a lack of dexterity, some people build up more plaque than others and have difficulty removing it. As the plaque and tartar build-up, they irritate the gum tissue, which starts to recede away from the teeth. Eventually, even the bone around the teeth starts to recede, leading to mobile teeth, some of which may require extraction.
Signs You Might Have Periodontal Disease
Each tooth has a gum pocket around its base. Your Tampa dentist or hygienist will measure the pockets during dental cleaning appointments. Healthy pocket depths range from one to three millimeters. Measurements of four and above indicate gum recession and periodontal disease.
Other signs that you might have periodontal disease include:
- Red or purple gums
- Bleeding (while you brush, floss, eat, or just random bleeding)
- Puffy, swollen gums
- Gum soreness and tenderness
- Exposed root surfaces
- Loose teeth
- Chronic bad breath