Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis is a condition of unhealthy gums. Gum disease can affect one or many teeth. Gum disease starts with bacteria growing in your mouth. While it’s normal to have bacteria in your mouth, if one does not practice proper dental hygiene, this bacteria can build up and cause gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease which results in the loss of bone around the teeth. This unhealthy environment produces an inflammation of the gums.

When brushing or flossing inflamed gums, one may experience bleeding. This early stage of gum disease is generally referred to as gingivitis. While the teeth are securely in place at the gingivitis stage, it’s essential to address the issue so it doesn’t progress to a more threatening stage. This can be done by brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash at least twice a day, and visiting the dentist twice a year. Gum disease can lead to bad breath or halitosis as well. If you are severely suffering from halitosis, we recommend you consulting a bad breath specialist.

Other Causes of Gingivitis
You may great oral care but are still noticing sensitive, inflamed or bleeding gums. There are a few extra-oral, or non-mouth related causes of this gum disease. Changes in hormones such as pregnancy, puberty or menopause are a few times you may experience more sensitive gums. Some individuals also have a genetic disposition for getting gingivitis.

Gum disease can also be related to other illnesses or medications. Generally this is because these situations can lead to a reduction in saliva production. Bottom line: the less saliva, the more bacteria. We encourage you to speak with your doctor if you feel this may be the case. Smoking can also lead to gum disease.

Categorization of Gum Disease
There are 7 categories of periodontal disease based on severity. The classification is as follows:

  1. Gingivitis
  2. Chronic periodontitis
  3. Aggressive periodontitis
  4. Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic disease
  5. Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis/periodontitis
  6. Abscesses of the periodontium
  7. Combined periodontic-endodontic lesions

The bottom 6 classes are known as destructive periodontal disease, and you will most definitely need to speak to a dentist or oral specialist. Other Risk Factors Associated with Gum Disease Like many unhealthy medical conditions, gum disease has to do with more than your gums. Periodontitis can raise the levels of C-reactive protein and Interleukin-6 and lead to additional bodily inflammation. Medical professionals have also linked periodontitis to stroke, myocardial infection and atherosclerosis. About the Author: Dr. Dailley is a practicing dentist in the Bay Area specializing if bad breath remedies. Dr. Dailley earned his dental degree from University of the Pacific School of dentistry. He then went on to build an online store featuring products for bad breath, teeth whitening products and more!