The Facts About Gum Disease

Facts About Gum Disease

According to statistics and studies, more than 75 percent of all Americans have some form of gum disease, however, only about 60 percent have knowledge of the dangers of gum disease.

To understand gum disease, it’s important to know that people can experience various stages of gum disease.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, begins when bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed.


Gingivitis is the mildest stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis causes the gums to become red and swollen. Often, the gums bleed easily when a patient experiences gingivitis which can be caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Typically, a patient does not experience discomfort with gingivitis which can be reversed with professional treatment and good oral hygiene habits at home.


Gingivitis can lead to the next stage of gum disease, periodontitis. When plaque spreads, it can grow below the gum line. The toxins produced by the bacteria irritates the gums and initiates the body’s inflammatory response. This inflammation causes the tissues and bone that support the teeth to break down. Patients may experience loose teeth. It can even progress so much that the tooth may need to be removed.

Those who are at risk for gum disease are smokers, people with diabetes, cancer patients, those taking certain medications, and women who are experiencing hormonal changes, like pregnancy or menopause.

Dr. Wesley Mullins at My Family Dentistry in Powell, TN can determine if you have gum disease, but some of the symptoms include bad breath that won’t go away, red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, receding gums, painful chewing, or sensitive teeth.

If you experience any of these symptoms of gum disease, contact My Family Dentistry. A dentist or hygienist can provide a thorough cleaning to remove the plaque. An x-ray may be needed to determine if there is any bone loss. Medication might be prescribed to treat the infection caused by the gum disease. In some instances, oral surgery may be necessary if inflammation and deep pockets remain in the gum tissue after treating the infection.


Powell dentist, Dr. Wesley Mullins of My Family Dentistry, is licensed to practice Laser Periodontal Therapy, a minimally invasive gum disease treatment. This Laser Periodontal Therapy is certified by the Food and Drug Administration and requires no scalpels or sutures for patients. Patients who have Laser Periodontal Therapy experience a comfortable healing process and a speedier recovery time compared to those who undergo tissue flap surgery.

To prevent gum disease, patients should brush their teeth twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste. Flossing is important to remove plaque in between teeth. Routine dental visits for a check-up and professional cleaning are also recommended.

Research has shown that taking care of your oral health is important to a patient’s overall health. There is a link that shows that patients with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease and diabetes.

If you have questions about gum disease or would like to schedule a comprehensive exam, contact Knoxville dentist Dr. Wes Mullins of My Family Dentistry today.

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