Gum disease has been described by a previous U.S. Surgeon General as a silent epidemic, affecting approximately 85 percent of American adults thirty-five and over. The disease starts with an inflammatory response to a bacterial infection in the gum tissue. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss and has also been linked by research studies to:
- blood clots.
- preterm and low birth weight babies.
- upper respiratory disease and other inflammatory infections.
The theories linking bacteria in the mouth to other diseases explain that the mouth may be a portal for this bacteria to spread to the rest of the body. This means that an infection in your gum tissue may threaten more than just your teeth and gums.
Signs of gum disease include:
- Your gums bleed when brushing or flossing.
- Your gums are red, swollen, or tender.
- You have chronic bad breath.
- You have a continual bad taste in your mouth.
- In severe cases, your teeth become loose.
If you have gum disease, pathogenic bacteria are likely forming colonies that cause localized inflammation and damage in your gum tissue. Those bacteria may enter the blood stream through small ulcers in your gum tissue.
For more on how dental professionals treat gum disease, click here.