Risks of Untreated Gum Disease: Basics and Stages

December 14, 2021

One of the single most common oral health conditions for both adults and children is a broad category: Gum disease. There are several factors that may contribute to gum disease forming, and in each of these cases, prompt and proper treatment is important -- and failure to do so could lead to several long-term issues.

At Hillfield Pediatric & Family Dentistry, we're proud to offer a variety of general dentistry and other services that help combat gum disease before it ever becomes a major issue for you or your child. What are some of the major risks of ignoring or failing to treat gum disease if it does happen to show up? This two-part blog series will go over why this is a risk you should not take, including the stages of gum disease and how it will simply worsen if you fail to remedy it.

Gum Disease Basics

Gum disease is a broad term that refers to various issues with the gums, including inflammation, redness, bleeding, and even tooth loss in more severe cases. Gum disease can form for a variety of reasons:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits: Not brushing and flossing regularly will allow bacteria to build up and cause inflammation and other issues.
  • Smoking or using tobacco products: This is a major cause of inflammation and bleeding, both of which can lead to serious complications
  • Hormonal changes: Conditions like pregnancy or menopause can lead to gum disease. An additional reason smoking is so dangerous .

One of the key risks of gum disease is that, if left untreated, it will spread and get progressively worse. This can cause a number of long-term health problems, including everything from infection to heart disease. To understand how this can happen, you have to also know how the stages of gum disease work, which we'll go over next.

Stages of Gum Disease

During the early stages of gum disease, which are generally known as gingivitis or periodontal disease, you may only notice some redness and inflammation of the gums. This is generally caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth, which can be easily treated with improved oral hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings.

If you do not address the early stages of gum disease, it will progress to the next stage, known as periodontitis. This is where the gums begin receding from the teeth, and if left untreated will lead to bone damage. Once this happens, your options for treatment are significantly more limited.

In part two of our series, we'll go over the specific risks that show up if you allow gum disease to progress into the periodontitis stage, plus how to ensure you never get to this point using proper treatments. For more on this or any of our general, cosmetic or pediatric dental services, speak to the caring staff at Hillfield Pediatric & Family Dentistry today.

Hillfield Pediatric & Family Dentistry knows the importance of having healthy and beautiful teeth, which is why we provide exceptional dental care that you can rely on
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