Understanding Gum Disease and Tooth Loss

worried about gum disease and tooth lossThough it usually isn’t a problem until later in life, gum disease begins sooner than you might realize, and it’s never too early to take steps to prevent it. If you don’t, and gum disease happens to become severe enough, it may result in the loss (or need for extraction) of a tooth, or teeth, by the time you seek treatment. So how does a disease that affects your gums wind up causing tooth loss? The secret is in the details, which could begin with something as simple as forgetting to brush your teeth, or waiting too long between dental checkups and cleanings.

The Truth About Gum Disease

It’s called a disease, but it could also be described as an infection; and like any infection, periodontal disease begins when microbial cells overpower your biological cells. In the case of your oral health, infections are the cause of bacteria, found in dental plaque and gathering just underneath your gum line as they cover your teeth and their roots. When you don’t brush and floss well enough, or visit your dentist as frequently as you should, plaque and bacteria grow and become stronger. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, occurs when the soft tissues around your teeth become infected and inflamed by these germs, bleeding and separating from your teeth in the process.

How Gum Disease Causes Tooth Loss

Gum disease remains the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States, and yet the bacteria responsible for it don’t attack your teeth directly. Instead, they slowly destroy the gums that protect their roots, and eventually the jawbone that supports them, until they can no longer support all of your teeth.

If you notice that your gums appear red, swollen, or unusually glossy, or you see blood when you brush and floss your teeth, then it’s time to schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. If you act quickly, you may be able to prevent gum disease from fully developing, or at least stop it from becoming serious enough to lead to tooth loss.


David Foster, DDS is a Columbia, TN native who’s served the dental needs of patients and their families in our community since 1985. If you live in Columbia, Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Hohenwald, Centerville, Pulaski, or any of the surrounding communities, then call us today at (931) 388 – 3384 to schedule an appointment.