Gum Disease and Its Effects on Oral Health: Importance of Early Intervention

Catch gum disease early.

Beyond the Oral Health Basics

Most people understand the basics of good oral health: brushing, flossing, and regular checkups. These are the standards for maintaining healthy teeth, but that’s not all you should be concerned with. Having healthy gums is also vital to your health.

Over 65% of older adults have a condition known as periodontal disease. Also called gum disease, it is a state of chronic inflammation and infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth. When left untreated, it can significantly affect tooth stability and jawbone structure.

Early detection by your family dentist is crucial because it allows for swift and appropriate treatment. Knowing the status of your gum health helps you prevent painful symptoms and stop gum disease progression. 

Understanding Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the primary reasons people lose their teeth. It has two main stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.


Gingivitis is the first stage and is completely reversible. With early intervention and good home care, tooth loss is avoidable. You may not experience any discomfort during this stage; if you do, it may be mild. However, diagnosing this condition before it progresses to the next stage is crucial.

Patients with symptoms of gingivitis typically experience one or more of the following: 

  • Bad breath
  • Metallic taste
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums

Gingivitis can occur at any age, often resulting from poor oral hygiene. However, other influencing factors include smoking, systemic disease, and medications. Changes in hormones due to pregnancy or menopause can cause gum sensitivity as well. Taking care of your teeth during these scenarios should be a high priority.


The advanced stage of periodontal disease is periodontitis. It affects not only the gum tissue but also the supporting bone structure. Symptoms become more evident as inflammation spreads and potentially causes discomfort. 

In this stage, gums recede, underlying ligaments and bone break down, and teeth become mobile. Without treatment, you may start losing teeth and experience painful abscesses due to the spread of infection.

Effects on Oral Health

If you suspect you have any symptoms of gum disease, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately. The longer the disease is left untreated, the higher your risk of developing gum recession and bone loss. These are irreversible conditions that can require extensive treatment to restore.

Gum disease impacts more than your mouth, though. The inflammation and bacteria that cause periodontal disease can affect other parts of your body and raise your risk of serious systemic diseases. Some of the conditions currently linked to gum disease include heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. 

Importance of Early Intervention

Gingivitis and early periodontitis are much easier to treat than severe periodontitis. Your dentist will develop a treatment plan that slows the progression to stop it from reaching the advanced stage. Early intervention can prevent shifting teeth and tooth loss altogether, helping you retain your ability to speak correctly and chew your favorite foods. 

Keeping your regular dental checkups is an important part of prevention and early intervention. During a cleaning, your dental hygienist removes plaque buildup and tartar deposits below the gumline that you can’t reach with traditional floss and a toothbrush.

Your dentist also measures the pockets between your teeth and gums. These measurements reflect where the gum tissue firmly attaches to the tooth. Lower numbers (between 1 and 3 millimeters) are ideal. Higher numbers indicate inflammation and possible gum disease.

Prevention and Management Strategies

Preventing gum disease is the best way to preserve your oral health. You can do this by developing good oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice and flossing once daily. 

As we mentioned earlier, keeping your regular preventive dental appointments allows your hygienist to remove plaque and tartar buildup. They also perform a full assessment of your gums for signs of disease. 

If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, you’ll be told what stage you are currently in. Your dentist will discuss treatment options to manage your condition. These options could include scaling and root planing or periodontal surgery if necessary.  

If gum recession has exposed the roots of your teeth, gum grafting can cover them. This is a treatment where your dentist takes gum tissue from the roof of your mouth or other source to cover the tooth roots. Covering these exposed areas helps reduce sensitivity and guards against decay. It also stops further gum recession and bone loss. 

Act fast to treat signs of gum disease.

If you think you have gum disease or you have been recently diagnosed, now is the time to act. The sooner you start treatment, the greater your chances are of saving your teeth and minimizing bone loss.

Reducing sugar intake and implementing good daily oral hygiene habits will help you breeze through routine checkups.

Improve your gum health with preventive care from Parmer Lane Family Dentistry in Austin.

Prioritize your oral hygiene today and seek professional care for early intervention and prevention of gum disease complications. Call Parmer Lane Family Dentistry to schedule your consultation.

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