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You might not know it, but gum disease is one of the most serious oral health issues in America today. The CDC reports that nearly half of people over 30–47%–have serious gum disease. That number is considerably higher in older populations. But since gum disease tends not to cause pain initially, many people don’t think they have a problem. Here is some basic information about the causes and signs of gum disease.

Gum disease is caused by bacteria in plaque that infects gum material. It can occur in people of all ages, although factors such as advanced age, poor nutrition, taking certain medications, and tobacco use can increase its likelihood of development. Its initial stage, called gingivitis, is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Gingivitis is reversible with proper care.

If gingivitis is allowed to persist, though, it develops into periodontitis. Here, the infection spreads throughout gum material into other tissues, including bone. Gums recede from the teeth, and teeth loosen and eventually fall out as connective tissue is destroyed. Gum disease at this stage is not always reversible.

The good news is that since gum disease is caused by the presence of plaque in the mouth, removing plaque eliminates the threat. Good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash prevents gum disease.

At Celenza, Frank DDS, PC, we provide a variety of treatments for people with gum disease. Periodontics can give you a healthier, stronger smile. Please call us at our New York, NY, office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Frank Celenza today.