Gum Problems (cont.)
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Causes of Sore, Swollen, and Bleeding Gums: Gum Disease
More than three-quarters of American adults over the age of 35 suffer from periodontal (gum) disease. While most people with gum disease have the less severe form, called gingivitis, between 5% and 15% of the population has a much more serious type of gum disease known as periodontitis.
When people do not practice proper dental hygiene, bacteria in the mouth form plaque on the teeth. These bacteria may cause your gums to become inflamed, which results in red, swollen, or bleeding gums. For many people with gingivitis, this inflammation is not painful. If you catch gingivitis early, it can be reversed and healed with proper oral hygiene. But left untreated, gingivitis can worsen and ultimately lead to tooth loss. Be sure to seek medical attention if you have the following symptoms, even if you are not experiencing any discomfort:
When gingivitis progresses, it develops into periodontitis, a condition in which the gums and bones that hold the teeth in place can be severely compromised. The bacteria on the teeth release toxic substances that harm your gums and cause them to become infected. The infection and the inflammation that result when your body attacks the bacteria can degrade your gums and the bones in your jaw. You may experience exceptionally swollen, painful gums that are likely to bleed. If not treated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.
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