Periodontal disease is a serious gum condition that damages the soft tissue and can lead to tooth loss. While common, it is largely preventable with proper oral care. There are many stages of periodontal disease. It begins as gingivitis, which is the only reversible stage. Gingivitis is quite common among adults and children of all ages. It involves gum inflammation caused by the accumulation of plaque around the teeth. It causes irritation, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. Gingivitis is a warning sign to take a more proactive role in your oral hygiene routine. Until this stage, no irreversible bone damage has occurred and there is no gum recession. At this point, it is important to visit a professional for a dental cleaning that can remove plaque and restore your oral health before it progresses into periodontal disease. It is also important to commit to daily brushing and flossing to remove the plaque in order to avoid gingivitis.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis, which is the next stage of gum disease. Periodontitis eats away at the bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. At this stage, the inner layer of the gum and bone pulls away from the teeth and harmful bacteria collects in the formed pockets. The plaque spreads below the gum line, which can ultimately lead to tooth and bone loss.