Why is Gum Disease a Cause of Tooth Loss?

How do you know if you have gum disease? One of the most common symptoms is bleeding gums, though you might know beforehand if Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron detect the problem during your dental checkup and cleaning. If you wait long enough to treat them, however, your bleeding gums can be joined by loose teeth, and in due time, tooth loss. In fact, severe gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States, and the reason can be traced back to the small microorganisms that destroy your gums.

From Gingivitis to Gum Destruction

Gingivitis and gum disease are often used synonymously, but are actually different stages of the same condition. It all begins when oral bacteria (the culprits behind dental plaque buildup) accumulate along your gum line. The germs can incite rampant inflammation, or swelling, that causes your gums to bleed and separate from your teeth. As more bacteria gather in the pockets between gums and teeth, the infection, known as gingivitis, worsens, and will eventually lead to gum disease and irreversible damage.

The Prolonged Effects of Gum Disease

Left untreated, gum disease can affect more than just your gums; it can also spread to the jawbone that supports the roots of your teeth. In time, the infection can erode your jawbone until it can no longer support all of your teeth. Because of the inflammation they cause, gum disease germs can also threaten your overall health when allowed into your bloodstream through diseased and bleeding gum tissues. Particularly, the bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, which manipulate your immune system to cause gum inflammation, have been found to increase patients’ risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia in later years, and other inflammatory conditions.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Preventing gum disease is often as easy as practicing good hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice and flossing at least once every day can help you control the bacteria that lead plaque buildup and gum disease. Also, visiting our office for a dental checkup and cleaning every six months will allow Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron to closely monitor your gums, as well as your teeth and other oral tissues, to ensure their continued good health. If gingivitis develops, then a deep cleaning may be required to clean the bacteria from your teeth’s roots underneath the gum line.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.