The Stages of Gum Disease

gumdisease1Gum disease–also called periodontal disease–develops in stages. Because it takes time to develop it is more common in older people. The most recent statistics show that it is most prevalent in people 65 and older, yet almost half of Americans 30 and older have some level of periodontal disease.  Such statistics are disconcerting considering the link between periodontal disease and other health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. The link between oral health and overall health has raised the important of tooth care. Dental care is no longer solely about teeth. It is about the good health of your whole body. If you are interested in the link between oral health and your overall health, contact your Ankeny, IA dentist, Dr. Amanda Foust, to discuss the oral-systemic health connection.

Stage 1 of Gum Disease

The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis develops from bacteria infested plaque biofilm. Plaque biofilm is formed when bacteria in your mouth reacts with the leftover foods, starches, and sugars after eating, drinking, and snacking. The bacteria colonies produce plaque which is a clear, sticky substance that adheres to your teeth along the gumline. Brushing after meals and flossing removes the plaque, but if plaque is not removed it begins to harden into tartar, also called calculus. Calculus is a very hard, cement-like substance that can only be removed with the proper tools during a professional dental cleaning. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums due to plaque and calculus. The development of gingivitis is signified by red, tender, swollen, and/or bleeding gums. If gingivitis goes untreated it can develop into periodontitis.

Stage 2 of Gum Disease

When gingivitis becomes severe, the hardened calculus begins to spread below the gumline causing gingival pockets to form. The bacteria and acids present in the calculus begin to eat away at the connective gingival tissue that helps hold the tooth, the root of the tooth, and the supporting jaw bone underneath. When the disease begins to progress to the tooth and the bone, it is called periodontitis. Periodontitis can result in tooth loss.

Dr. Amanda Foust believes it is crucial to perform proper oral hygiene at home and to attend your regularly scheduled dental appointments to help prevent periodontal disease and keep your whole body healthy.

About Dr. Amanda Foust

For more information regarding oral cancer, call Dental Impressions of Ankeny, IA to schedule an appointment with Dr. Foust at (515) 965-0230.  Since 2006, Dr. Amanda J. Foust has proudly provided compassionate and quality care to families in Ankeny, Alleman, Elkhart, Bondurant, and all surrounding communities.