What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection in your gums that’s caused by the bacteria in plaque and tartar. Plaque builds up on your teeth and along the gum line throughout the day, particularly after you eat. The bacteria in the plaque feed off the carbohydrates in the foods you eat and release acids that cause dental decay and irritate the gums, causing gum disease.
If the plaque is not removed (by brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleaning appointments), it will calcify into a substance called tartar or calculus. Tartar traps the bacteria near the gums, irritating them even more.
Eventually, the gums will become so irritated that they will start to recede away from the teeth, resulting in:
- Longer-looking teeth
- Root surface exposure
- Deeper gum pockets (that are harder to clean)
- Tooth sensitivity
Left untreated, gum disease will progress, and not only will the gum tissue recede, but so will the bone surrounding the roots of the teeth. When this happens, the teeth become loose, and you’re at risk of losing those teeth.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
If you notice any of the following symptoms, please contact your Tampa dentist right away. These are signs you could have periodontal disease and need treatment to prevent progression.
- Red or purple gum tissue
- Sore, tender gums
- Gum swelling
- White bump/abscess
- Receding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Shifting teeth
- Loose teeth