Chew on This — Advice from Our Dentist

What is gum disease and what causes it?

Gum disease is the #1 cause of adult tooth loss in the United States.

Factors that contribute to gum disease include poor oral hygiene, irregular professional dental cleanings, smoking or chewing tobacco, certain medications, defective fillings, crooked teeth and systemic diseases.

Gum disease is caused by bacteria in your mouth. In a healthy state, the gums around your teeth are tight, pink, do not bleed when they are gently probed, and there is little space between the gums and the teeth for bacteria to build up.

If the bacteria are not removed effectively, the first stage of gum disease is that your gums can start to bleed and may become red and swollen (gingivitis). This may not be readily visible, especially in between and around the back teeth, but the space between the gums and teeth becomes bigger. The bacteria now have somewhere to hide.

As the space (pocket) deepens, the bacteria change in nature and become more aggressive. Your body starts to fight this infection. The combination of the bacteria and your body’s response to them, leads to a loss of the bone that supports the teeth. This is “periodontal disease” or “periodontitis” (periodontitis — a word that comes from the combination of the smaller words: “per” meaning around, “dont” meaning tooth and “itis” meaning inflammation or infection).

Therefore, the most important thing to do is correctly diagnose the presence and severity of gum disease. We test your gums for signs of gum disease and severity and then make an appropriate plan to prevent the spread and progression of the disease.


Dr. Sivi Jones
Dr. Sivi Jones has been practicing dentistry for over 20 years since graduating from Howard University in 1987. Dr. Jones has extensive training in advanced dental techniques, including dental implants and dentures to provide high-quality tooth restorations. He can give you a beautiful, natural smile with Cosmetic dental procedures or even restore your mouth to full health and function with Full-Mouth Reconstruction.