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For many people, a healthy mouth means strong teeth. And while this is certainly true, there is much more to the story. The mouth is a complex environment with many interdependent systems. One of the most vital of these is the gums.

Our gums help support and protect our teeth. While they have a hard enamel layer on the upper crown area, tooth roots are softer and more vulnerable to decay. This vital protection can be threatened by infection and disease. While symptoms usually seem pretty benign, especially initially, gum disease can lead to the destruction of gums and other tissue, and tooth loss.

Gum disease begins when bacteria in plaque infect the gums. This causes inflammation, easy bleeding, and gum recession, but no pain. Without pain, many patients assume there is no real trouble. But if this early stage, or gingivitis, is allowed to progress, the infection can spread beyond to the gums to other tissues and even the bone.

Advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, can see the degeneration of gum material, weakening of bone, and eventual loss of teeth. These extreme symptoms might seem far-fetched, but nearly half of people over 30 have periodontitis. Two-thirds of people over 65 do. Gum disease is a pervasive oral health problem in America.

At Shanker Dental, we work to both prevent gum disease and treat its early stages. To learn more about what Dr. Bennett R. Shanker can do for you, please call our Bridgeton, NJ, office today. A healthy mouth is a goal everyone should have.