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Gum Disease

Side by side illustration of a healthy tooth and a tooth with periodontitis A lot of people are affected by periodontal disease or gum disease and hence, it has become a common affair to have bad breath or loss of tooth because of this ailment. Gum disease can even cause damage to the soft tissue and bone region that act as the support for your teeth.

Causes of Gum Disease

The main culprit that causes gum disease is bacteria in the mouth and when it joins forces with mucus and other substances, it can lead to a deadly force called 'plaque' that is bent on destroying the teeth and gums. When plaque is not removed, it hardens and turns into 'tartar' that will not go even when you brush your teeth. Tartar requires the expert hand of a dentist for its removal and till then, your teeth and gums will suffer.

There are also your lifestyle choices that have a lot of influence on your dental health, for example:
•  Smoking is a major factor. Smoking can also lower the effectiveness of any treatment that you may seek.
•  Diabetic people should take proper care of their teeth as they are very susceptible to gum diseases.
•  Sometimes hormonal changes in both women and girls can lower the resistance in the gum regions and can lead to inflammation.
•  There have been cases of people who are undergoing various other ailments who can get their gums infected due to low immunity or other effects caused by the disease itself and the subsequent treatment they receive. A few examples of such diseases are cancer and AIDS.
•  Another factor that we must look into is the hereditary gene where some families are more likely to get gum diseases than others.

Prevention of Gum Disease

Good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentis's will go a long way in preventing gum diseases. You might have heard this countless times before, but it is worth mentioning again that brushing teeth twice a day and regular flossing are irreplaceable when it comes to dental health.

Types of Gum Diseases


Most people suffer from this type of gum disease and it is identified by bleeding and mild inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis will usually clear up when you follow good oral habits, and regular professional teeth cleanings. This is a mild type of gum disease as there is no loss of gum or bone tissue.


Untreated gingivitis can lead to a severe type of gum disease called Periodontitis, which literally means the tooth region becoming inflamed. This is a severe type of gum disease where there is a separation of the gums from the tooth and pockets begin to form. Unless you receive periodontal treatment, these pockets get infected and there could be loss of teeth, bone tissues and connective tissues. There are three types that one has to be aware of. They are:
•  Chronic Periodontitis - This disease is identified by swelling of the gums and the teeth will gradually get loosened from the gums.
•  Aggressive Periodontitis - Teeth gets loosened from the gums rapidly.
•  Necrotizing periodontal disease - There is loss of teeth along with the appearance of lesions in the gums.

Symptoms of Gum Diseases

•  The number one symptom is bad breath.
•  Check your gums when they are tender to see whether they are swollen or red.
•  You might find that your gums might be bleeding occasionally.
•  While eating you might find that chewing becomes painful.
•  There could be an unexpected loss of tooth.
•  The infected region and teeth become very sensitive.
•  Gums move away from the teeth and gaps or pockets are seen. These pockets are usually about 1-3 mm in depth.

Treating Gum Diseases

Imagine smiling with red and swollen teeth! However, there is no need to be mortified any longer, thanks to technical developments, the treatment for gum diseases has achieved another level and patients can get their beautiful smile back in no time at all. Most of the time dentists just recommend a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums along with medicated mouthwashes. The infection causing plaque is targeted first and removed using a process called scaling and the plaque is removed from all over the teeth and gums. The next step is root planing where the rough spots on the teeth are removed so that bacteria will be deterred from gathering there.

In extreme cases, your dentist might recommend you to an experienced periodontist. Periodontists are experts when it comes to gum diseases and they usually have various kinds of treatments not usually used by dentists at their disposal.

One of the most used tools by a periodontist is a soft tissue laser which is very effective while the patient suffers little or no pain. The periodontist will aim to control the infection first and you might need to schedule several visits depending upon the severity of your problem. However, there is no better cure than regular visits to your dentists so that they can detect any problems early and nip the disease in the bud.

If you live in or around Bellevue or Seattle, Washington, please contact the Bellevue family dentists at Cooley Smiles today to schedule a periodontal examination, gum treatment, and professional cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Number One Cause Of Gum Disease?
The primary cause of periodontal disease is plaque buildup. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth, can harden into tartar if not removed. This can lead to inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, which can progress to periodontitis, affecting the bone and tissues supporting the teeth.

What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk?
To reduce your risk of periodontal disease, maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are also crucial, as they can remove plaque and tartar that brushing alone can't reach. Additionally, quitting smoking and managing health conditions like diabetes can lower your risk.

Get in Touch!

(425) 998-6998


4100 Factoria Blvd SE Suite C
Bellevue, WA 98006-1262

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