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Gum (periodontal) disease, gum recession, gingivitis, and all that jazz

Given how important gum health is to overall mouth health, it is kind of bad that I haven’t addressed it yet on my blog, so it’s time to get to this very important subject!  The first thing to note: as much as I love to use photos to illustrate different situations, I’m not going to use any pictures of gum disease, and please trust me on this….you don’t want me to do so!  LOL  Gum disease can look pretty nasty (and it is!), and if you’re reading this around lunch or dinner, I don’t want you to lose your appetite.  🙂

First question then: What is the difference between Gum (Periodontal) Disease and Gingivitis?

In simplest terms: Gingivitis is inflammation of your gums, but Gum Disease is infection of your gums. Both are caused by bacteria, but gum disease is a lot more severe and has worse implications for your overall health, not just your gums and teeth.

If you listen to the TV commercials by certain mouthrinse manufacturers, you’d get the idea that gingivitis is pretty darn bad stuff.  True, you should not ignore it, but no, it does not mean your teeth are on the verge of falling out.

Whether or not gingivitis ever progresses to gum (periodontal) disease is affected by a number of factors, including

  1. The kinds and amounts of bacteria that you have in your mouth
  2. Your immune system
  3. Your oral hygiene habits (brushing, flossing, mouthrinses, etc)

We actually categorize gum disease into 4 stages, called Type I, II, III, and IV  (there are some oddbal scenarios, but as they’re rare I”m not going to bother you with them). Type I is the mildest form and is when gingivitis crosses the line into gum disease, with Types II and III getting progressively worse with the gum separating from the teeth, bone being lost around the teeth, the gums getting redder and bleeding more easily, more and more tartar and plaque building up around the teeth, and EVENTUALLY (if it’s not treated and controlled) it reaches Type IV, and if your gum disease has progressed that far, it is quite possible that you will be losing your teeth pretty darn soon.

Did you know that gum disease is the cause of more extractions that cavities even?

So what can you do about it?  Stay tuned…….more information coming soon!  It’s important, too, BECAUSE GUM DISEASE HAS BEEN LINKED TO A NUMBER OF OTHER VERY SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITIONS YOU DON’T WANT!

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April 29, 2009 - Posted by | Periodontal (Gum) Disease | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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