How Does Gum Disease Lead to Tooth Loss?


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Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria and plaque. Eventually, plaque can harden and turn into tartar, and gum disease progresses near the roots of your teeth. If left untreated, it can turn into an infection along the line of your gums.

Gum disease isn’t always obvious—many people have gingivitis (the beginning stage of gum disease) and aren’t aware of it. Without treatment, your immune system can attack the bacteria causing your gum disease, which creates an infection. Gum disease inevitably affects your teeth and could even lead to tooth loss! How does this happen?

Creates Pockets Around Your Teeth

The bacteria that accumulate on your teeth eventually begin to irritate your gum line—this is why patients that have gingivitis will often experience red, tender, or bleeding gums. As gum disease progresses, the bacteria end up going underneath your gum line to create “pockets” of space around the roots of your teeth.

When this happens, these pockets become home to bacteria that your immune system responds to, therefore causing an infection. This is also why people with gum disease will experience chronic bad breath—unless the infection is treated, the symptoms will progress. These pockets of bacteria harm your tooth’s root due to your body fighting the infection.

Damages Connective Tissue

As the infection spreads, the connective tissues that help to firmly hold your teeth in place become damaged. Your teeth aren’t simply rooted into your jaw with bone—you need healthy, supportive gum tissue in order to properly nourish and support your teeth. When the connective tissue that helps to anchor your teeth firmly in place becomes compromised, your teeth can begin to loosen.

During gum disease, your gums may also begin to recede from your teeth, leading to an appearance of longer teeth. Diseased gum tissue could lead to loose teeth along with the infection and damaged connective tissue. When teeth become loose, this is usually an obvious sign of progressive gum disease. Loose teeth will eventually fall out if the gum disease is not treated.

Could Cause the Need for Extractions

When patients have gum disease, the gum disease is often a result of poor oral hygiene, smoking, or poor nutrition, as noted by the American Dental Association. When gum disease progresses and teeth become more damaged as a result of the infection and inflammation of gum disease, teeth may eventually need to be extracted as a result of the damage that the gum disease has caused.

If left untreated, gum disease will progress and eventually lead to loss of your teeth. When your teeth aren’t able to be firmly rooted and supported by their proper connective tissues, they can become loose and fall out. Your gum disease may be so severe that the infection has compromised your teeth and they can’t be saved. Seek treatment for your gum disease before it’s too late—a simple dental exam can reveal if you’re a sufferer of this common ailment!

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Gum disease inevitably affects your teeth and could even lead to tooth loss! How does this happen?
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Gum disease inevitably affects your teeth and could even lead to tooth loss! How does this happen? Learn more with Dr. Samir Alaswad of Orangevale Dental.

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Dr. Samir Alaswad

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