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How gum infections happen

Periodontal (gum) disease is very common

Everyone’s mouth contains bacteria that cause gum disease. That's why it's the most common chronic bacterial infection in adults. In fact, nearly half of all Americans over age 30 and 70% of those age 65 or older have it.1 With regular checkups and good daily oral hygiene, it's possible to keep this infection under control. Since early gum disease symptoms are often mild, many people are not aware of their condition until it becomes more serious.

Plaque is a sticky film made of bacteria, mucus, and food. It builds up on teeth over time. Plaque build up causing gum inflammation Untreated, gum disease can lead to serious problems.

Bacterial plaque is the root of the problem

Over time, a film (plaque) builds up on your teeth. A major cause of tooth decay, plaque is a sticky substance made of bacteria, mucus, and food on the exposed parts of your teeth. Over time, plaque can harden and become trapped at the base of the tooth.

A buildup can lead to gum infection

Once plaque hardens on your teeth, it’s known as tartar or calculus. Plaque and tartar can harm your gums if they are not removed. This can lead to inflamed and infected gums, also known as gingivitis.

Left untreated, gum disease may progress

The infection can create deep pockets (spaces) or cause your gums to recede or pull back. This exposes the roots of your teeth and allows bacteria to grow above and below the gumline. Over time, the bones, gums, and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may need to be removed.

Why would you use an antibiotic to treat gum disease?
Bacteria are the cause of gum disease. And antibiotics kill bacteria. Scaling and root planing (SRP) removes a great deal of bacteria that cause periodontal infections. But this procedure can't reach bacteria that hide in the bottom of pockets. That's why your dentist may decide to add a locally administered antibiotic such as ARESTIN® (minocycline HCl) Microspheres, 1 mg.

Eke PI, Dye BA, Wei L, Thornton-Evans GO, Genco RJ. Prevalence of periodontitis in adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. J Dent Res. 2012;91(10):914-920.

Learn about the symptoms of gum diseaseContinue