Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis (gum inflammation) usually precedes periodontitis (gum disease). However, it is important to know that not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.
In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up, causes the gums to become inflamed (red and swollen) and often easily bleed during tooth brushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. In a person with periodontitis, the inner layer of gum and bone pull away from teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.
Toxins or poisons - produced by the bacteria in plaque as well as
the body's "good" enzymes involved in fighting infections - start
to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth
in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more
gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When this happens, teeth are
no longer anchored in place, they become loose and tooth loss occurs.
Gum disease, in fact, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Smiles are contagious.
312 Pecan Blvd., McAllen, TX 78501