Gum disease is common, affecting over 50 percent of the American adult population. Gingivitis is the most common and the earliest stage of gum disease because it is usually the point at which more serious gum disease is caught.
There are generally four stages to gum disease:
- Stage 1: Symptoms are inflamed gums when brushed.
- Stage 2: Slight loss of bone although this is not always observed
- Stage 3: Bone and gum tissue is destroyed and loosening of teeth is common
- Stage 4: Teeth become loose, chewing can hurt and extensive treatment is needed
Gingivitis and Periodontitis: This is an early-stage gum disease caused by plaque buildup in the teeth. If plaque builds up inflammation can occur as well as bleeding gums. Left untreated gingivitis develops into periodontitis, which is late-stage gum disease. If periodontitis is not treated, serious tooth loss can occur.
Causes: Gum disease is caused by many different things because it is an umbrella term to cover a number of different gum issues and conditions. The best way to look at it is that gingivitis is treatable and reversible while periodontitis is treatable but not usually reversible, meaning more intrusive surgery is needed to correct it.
The cause is poor oral hygiene, lack of cleaning leading to plaque buildup and using substances that can contribute to plaque buildup or the degeneration of gums, which can let plaque gain a foothold.