Is Gum Disease Really the Biggest Cause of Tooth Loss?

The fact that gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss can be surprising to many people. After all, the condition affects your gum tissues, not your natural tooth structure. However, it’s because of this that gum disease if often allowed to progress far enough to cause tooth loss before many patients seek treatment. At our Newhall, CA, dental office, we prefer to help you avoid tooth loss by preventing gum disease, or by controlling it in its early stages. With proper care and maintenance, you have a better chance of preserving your teeth even if you do develop gum disease.

What gum disease means

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, doesn’t start off as a severe condition. In fact, when it first develops, it’s known as gingivitis – an infection in your gums, or gingival tissues. This infection can irritate your gum tissues and lead to their inflammation and recession, but it may not cause discomfort in your gums or teeth until it reaches a more severe state. Because of this, you may be likely to ignore the symptoms at first, which greatly increases your risks of losing one or more teeth to the disease.

The symptoms it causes

While you might not feel the presence of gingivitis at first, you can notice the symptoms if you know what to look for. For instance, when your gums become infected, you might notice signs such as:

  • Red, “shiny” gum tissues
  • Darkening patches of gums
  • Lengthening of your teeth (as your gums recede)
  • Bleeding when you brush and floss
  • And more

As it gets worse, you might also notice increasingly worse, chronic bad breath, more frequent instances of bleeding gums, looseness in one or more teeth, and other signs that your teeth are losing support.

How this leads to tooth loss

As the symptoms of gum disease grow worse, so does the damage that it causes to your gums. Eventually, that damage can extend the underlying jawbone structure that supports your teeth roots. This erosion can make your jawbone too weak to successfully support your teeth, causing them to grow loose and eventually fall out, or require extraction.

Stop gum disease and tooth loss

Gum disease doesn’t directly affect your tooth structure, but by eroding their supportive structures, it can quickly lead to the loss of one or more teeth. For more information, or to find out if you can benefit from gum disease treatment, schedule a consultation by calling Newhall Dental Arts in Newhall, CA, today at (661) 259-7760.