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Dr. Rea and her staff are dedicated to excellence in dental care.

- Karron L.

Longview area residents ask, "What are the stages of gum disease?"

Everyone knows that you are supposed to brush and floss your teeth daily, but did you know that if you don't, you are not only putting yourself at risk for gum disease and tooth decay, but other health conditions as well? Gum disease has been linked with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

So, what is gum disease?

Gum disease can be broken down into three categories: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Stage One: Gingivitis

This is the first and earliest stage of gum disease. Inflammation around the gum line occurs when there is plaque buildup. It is generally caused by a lack of brushing and flossing daily. The plaque buildup traps bacteria and causes the gums to become inflamed. Symptoms of gingivitis are typically red and swollen gums, bad breath, or gums bleeding when brushing the teeth.

Stage Two: Periodontitis

When gingivitis goes untreated, the disease will advance into periodontitis. During this stage, there is now irreversible damage to the bones and tissue that support your teeth. Deep hollow pockets begin to form in the gums, leaving room for food, plaque, and bacteria to become trapped. The gums start to recede and gaps develop between the gum line and teeth. Without treatment, you become at risk for the damage to worsen and tooth loss.

Stage Three: Advanced Periodontitis

This stage occurs when periodontitis is left untreated. At this point, the bacteria that have collected in the pockets of the gum begin to destroy the bone structure and make the pockets deeper. Teeth begin to move and fall out. Aggressive treatment is required to save the teeth.

Factors that can contribute to gum disease include hormonal changes such as pregnancy or monthly menstruation, illnesses such as cancer or diabetes, certain medications, smoking, and poor oral hygiene.

The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice proper oral hygiene and maintain regular dental check-ups twice per year. If you are in the Longview area and experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of gum disease, call us at Rea Dental to schedule an appointment.
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