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Stages of Gum Disease

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The chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and the surrounding tissues is called as gum disease or periodontal disease. Gum disease is the major reason for tooth loss in adults, as it affects 3 people out of 4 persons. Gum disease starts at any age and progresses slowly. It won’t lead to any symptoms initially, and when the symptoms show up the disease will have spread and at the stage of making one lose a tooth.

Stages of Periodontal Disease

There are three stages of gum disease that cause teeth to become loose, fall out or require to be pulled out by a dentist. These stages are as follows:


The earliest stage of gum disease is called as gingivitis. Gum disease caught in this stage is the easiest to treat. The gums become irritated by development of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is the leftover food, bacteria and bacterial waste product that builds up on the teeth when one does not brush regularly. The plaque tends to gradually get underneath the gums, that leads to the development of gingivitis symptoms. The signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Leads to periodontitis


The next stage of gum disease is periodontitis. The bones and fibers that support and hold the teeth in place get damaged irreversibly. A pocket is formed below the gumline, where food and plaque gets trapped. This further leads to bacterial growth and infection. The plaque begins to get hardened and form tartar. Thus, causing irritation and it becomes painful to brush. The pockets start getting deeper and deeper and the gum and bone underneath the teeth may shrink. This exposes the roots of the teeth, leading to sensitivity. Bone loss results in fall out of a tooth or removal by a dentist. Periodontitis cannot be reversed or completely cured. However,appropriate treatment will help stop the progress of the disease and even save a tooth from fallout.

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Advanced Periodontitis

It is the most severe type of gum disease. In this stage, the fibers and bone that support the teeth are completely destroyed. It causes the teeth to become loose or shift position. This affects the bite and aggressive treatment is necessary to prevent tooth loss.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease can affect anyone at any age. It is however more common in adults. Symptoms include:

  • Red, puffy, swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums when one brushes or flosses
  • Teeth appear longer due to a receding gumline
  • Gums appear separated or pulled away from the teeth, leading to the development of a pocket
  • Changes in bite grip
  • Constant bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Pus develops on teeth or gums

What Causes Gum Disease?

The main cause of gum disease is the plaque buildup on the teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that produce toxins as their waste product. This toxin irritates and causes inflammation of the gums. The inflammatory response destroys the gum tissues and leads to separation of the gum from the teeth. As the condition progresses, the infection advances to the bone underneath.

The plaque needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent it from developing into tartar or calculus. Tartar is the hard porous substance that forms on the teeth below the gum line. It leads to further irritation of the gum and the formation of more plaque and infection in the gum.

There are other factors that contribute to the progress of gum disease stages. These include:

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  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Badly aligned teeth
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Poor diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Diseases such as diabetes or AIDS
  • Food between teeth
  • Defective fillings
  • Poor fitting bridges

Diagnosis of Gum Disease

The dentist will examine your teeth and measure the depth of the pockets between the teeth. An X-ray or may be done to check the damage of the supporting bone. According to the stage of gum disease, the treatment is planned out.

Treatment of Gum Disease

Early stage of gum disease will be treated with professional cleaning. In case the disease has progressed to periodontitis, it will require deep cleaning or root planning. Advanced periodontitis will require thorough cleaning of the roots and elimination of the pockets formed. Surgical techniques may be required to treat gum tissues that are completely destroyed.

Brushing and flossing regularly is the best way to prevent stages of gum disease. Visit your dentist regularly and take care of your teeth to help them last long.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 20, 2015

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