What causes gum disease?

Plaque that has hardened and formed into tartar causes gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and is a mild form of gum disease. At this stage, it can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing and routine checkups with your dentist. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can advance and become periodontitis. This form of gum disease is recognized when gum tissue pulls away from the teeth and forms spaces susceptible to bacteria and further infection. Untreated infections can lead to bone, gum, tooth and tissue loss. Periodontal disease is known to be further linked to other health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.


What are some contributing factors? 

  • Poor or infrequent oral hygiene (brushing and flossing)
  • Certain medical conditions and/or medications
  • Tobacco and substance abuse
  • Genetics


Common symptoms include: 

  • Swollen, red and bleeding gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Loose teeth due to degraded bone and tissue support


What should I expect at my dental cleaning?

  • A complete or routine dental examination – these are essential to diagnose and treat conditions as early as possible
  • Routine x-rays – essential as it is difficult to diagnose what cannot be seen between the teeth and below the gums
  • Scaling to remove calculus and tartar buildup both above and below the gumline
  • Polish to remove plaque and surface stains
  • Fluoride application
  • Oral hygiene instruction for maintenance at home and between routine visits
  • Complete diagnosis and treatment plan – this is a great opportunity to inform and clarify to you, our patients, with time for questions and concerns to be addressed
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