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Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is the progressive inflammation and infection of gum tissues. While it often results from hardened tartar at the gumline, there are other increased risk factors, like regular tobacco use and certain medical conditions, that can make you more prone to gum disease at an earlier age.

The earliest stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. Initial symptoms include red or inflamed gums that bleed easily during brushing and flossing. It also includes problems with chronic bad breath. This level of infection can often be remedied by a thorough cleaning treatment at Daniel Richards, DMD. You can then prevent future infections with consistent improvements in your daily oral hygiene routine.

If it is not addressed early, gingivitis can develop into a more advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. This level of infection in the gum tissue can cause your gums to recede from the base of your teeth. This enables pockets of infection to form deep within the gum tissues. In time, it can even result in the loss of bone structure where your teeth are anchored in the sockets.

The systemic inflammation caused by periodontitis can also have a negative effect on your immune system. Continuing research has found that this can be related to other medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. While gum disease cannot cause these conditions, it does have a relationship with them that can limit your treatment options.

If you are concerned that you might be developing gum disease in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, you should call us at (205) 823-6300 and schedule an appointment with your dentist, Dr. Daniel Richards, as soon as possible.