When you think about your own oral health, you probably focus on your teeth. These are the centerpieces of your smile. Great looking teeth are important when it comes to your confidence and your overall oral health, but you can’t forget about your gums. Common gum disease is known as “gingivitis,” but this is actually only the first stage in a progressive oral health condition. If you develop gingivitis, you need to treat it quickly before it compounds. Eventually, inflamed gums can lead to complex oral health conditions like tooth loss and the deterioration of your jawbone.

What Is Gingivitis and How Does It Form?

Let’s begin with that first form of gum disease: gingivitis. You’ve probably seen advertisements for toothpaste that fight against this condition, and wondered what, exactly, that meant. Gingivitis is characterized by chronic inflammation (redness, swelling, pain) of your gum tissue, and it is the result of infection. The same way that bacteria can build up on the surfaces of your teeth and cause cavities, it can also accumulate beneath the gum line. This infection can damage your gum tissue and the connections between your teeth and jawbone.

As Gum Disease Compounds, It Attacks the Jawbone

Like other infections, gingivitis will continue to worsen over time if you do not treat the condition. While gingivitis initially attacks gum tissue and the connective tissue between your tooth and jawbone, it will eventually begin to attack the jawbone itself. This advanced form of gum disease is known as “periodontitis.” Periodontitis results in the decay of the jawbone itself, which cannot be repaired simply by getting rid of the infection. As your jawbone begins to lose mass, the hole where your tooth is situated can widen, and eventually, your tooth will fall out.

To Combat Advancing Gum Disease, You Need Early Treatment

Combating gum disease is a matter of prevention and early treatment. This is part of why it’s so important to attend your biannual checkups at the dentist’s office. If you spot the signs of gum disease — inflamed, swollen gums — you should seek treatment as soon as possible so that your dentist can diagnose the issue and offer a solution. Periodontal cleanings — also known as “scaling and root planing” — can be used to clean out the infected tissue and bacteria, allowing your gums to heal before your jawbone is at risk.

Schedule Your Appointment with Dreem Dentistry

Regular dentist appointments keep your teeth clean and healthy, and they allow your dentist to stay vigilant for any developing issues. Dreem Dentistry offers both routine checkups, as well as restorative treatment to remove harmful bacteria and allow your teeth to heal. To schedule an appointment for yourself or a family member, contact Dreem Dentistry in Leawood, KS at 913-681-5500.