The Specifics of Gum Disease

specifics of gum diseaseIf you’ve never had gum disease, you might still realize that it may one day become a serious concern, if you aren’t careful. If gum disease has already developed, then the danger to your oral health can feel more poignant as you race to treat the condition before it costs you one or more teeth, or worse. As a progressive issue, gum disease affects people to varying degrees, from mild gingivitis to more severe periodontitis. The difference lies in how long it remains, which you can limit by being aware of the specifics of gum disease, like its signs, symptoms, and consequences.

The Warning Signs

Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, begins when oral bacteria infect your gum tissues, and progresses into more destructive gum disease if not treated promptly. Signs that can warn of you of gingivitis’ presence include;

  • Inflammation, or swelling, in your gums
  • Slight bleeding when your brush your teeth or bite down hard
  • Periodontal pockets, which form when the infection causes your gums to recede
  • Halitosis, or consistently bad breath

What Gum Disease Does to Your Smile and Health

When inflammation spreads through your gums and the pockets between your teeth and periodontal tissues fill with bacteria, gum disease settles in and becomes a real and present danger to your entire oral health. The destruction to your gum tissues can spread to the underlying jawbone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease, can lead to tooth loss by eroding your teeth’s supportive structures. The oral bacteria that cause gum inflammation and disease can also pose a threat to your systemic health if allowed to enter the blood stream through bleeding gums. Known as oral-systemic health, untreated gum disease often plays a role in a patient’s risk for other chronic inflammatory diseases, including heart disease.


James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.