Major factors that cause gum disease are:
- Plaque and tarter are the primary cause of Gum Disease. This is mainly due to poor dental hygiene i.e. not brushing and flossing teeth thoroughly.
There are however contributing co-factors that can make the disease process worse. They are :
Bacteria is the main cause of periodontal disease. One drop of saliva can easily contain 50 to 100 million bacteria and a diseased mouth can have bacteria in the billions. As the bacteria grow they accumulate (both dead and alive) and form a sticky near invisible layer called plaque. As the plaque grows it appears as a whitish-gray color. Usually the formation of this plaque is along the teeth and gum line. As plaque grows it becomes calcified and turns into tartar also known as calculus. The calculus builds a wedge between the tooth and the gum line causing an opening called a pocket. Pockets are measured by how deep they are from the gum line. Stage 1 Periodontitis (called gingivitis) is 2-3 mm deep, Stage 2 Periodontitis is 4-5 mm and Stage 3 Periodontitis is 6 mm or deeper.
As the gum tissue comes into contact with the spreading plaque and calculus, the infection intensifies, swelling and redness can begin, and the gums become weakened and bleeding takes place. Once the bleeding has started the bacteria get an additional source of food and start multiplying at an alarming rate.
As the bacteria continue to multiply they eat, and as with everything else that eats, there is waste. “The waste of the bacteria is very acidic – so acidic it can eat right through the tooth enamel to the dentin of the tooth and cause a cavity”. The bacteria like to hide between the teeth, on the back of the tongue, and especially in the pockets under the gum line where normal brushing is not going to disturb it. This acidic waste will eat away at the ligaments and bone of the tooth and the gum tissue. Eventually this will cause the tooth to be weakened more and even become loose. This acidic waste will also eat away at the gum tissue and your gums may start receding. If not treated, you will eventually lose your teeth and be exposed to the whole host of other diseases that are now linked to Periodontitis.