Caused by bacteria in plaque, gum disease can lead to pain, inflammation, and tooth loss. Though gum disease can occur at any age, it is most commonly seen in adults. Conservative estimates suggest that 80 percent of adults in this country have some level of gum disease, but many don’t realize they have a problem.
Left untreated, gum disease can damage your oral health and impact overall wellness. Various studies have linked gum disease to larger health concerns like increased risk of stroke, osteoporosis, and low-birth weight babies. Often, gum disease begins with mild symptoms, so it may be easy to miss. To protect your mouth, it helps to understand the progression of gum disease.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Initially, gum disease presents as inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up and the toxins released irritate the gum tissue. With this early stage, gum disease can successfully be reversed because the bone and supporting tissue are still in good shape.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
When gum disease reaches this level, pockets begin to form below your gum line, which causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth. By this point, the bone and supporting tissue have sustained permanent damage, but periodontal therapy can restore your oral health and halt further progression.
Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis
If gum disease continues to the state of advanced periodontitis, the supporting structures in your mouth are in dire condition. Without intense therapy, you risk permanent tooth loss.