Dentist demonstrating flossing

Understanding & Treating Gum Disease

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease affects between 75%-90% of people. It is a bacterial infection that that comes on slowly, progressively impacting your gums, causing bad breath, and, eventually, leading to tooth loss. Tooth loss negatively impacts your ability to speak, chew and socialize, and it also causes progressive bone loss. It is also linked to other serious diseases, from diabetes to kidney disease to Alzheimer’s.


The earliest (and most common) stage of gum disease is gingivitis. As it progresses, it's called periodontal disease.


What Causes Gum Disease?

Plaque, the soft film on your teeth, has its own unique ecosystem of bacteria. If allowed to build up, plaque hardens into calculus (tartar), and calculus can cause both gum inflammation and bleeding. It can also loosen the natural seal formed by your gums, and this can lead to oral bacteria traveling into your bloodstream.


Is it Possible to Prevent or Cure Gum Disease?

Your home care routine is key to preventing plaque from becoming calculus that can compromise the health of your gums. Get adequate nutrition, avoid stress, don’t smoke, don’t clench or grind your teeth—these are all important steps you can take in keeping your mouth healthy. And, of course, be sure to keep your regular dental appointments. Once tartar forms, only a dental professional can remove it!

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