"Gum disease" is a scary phrase to hear, whether it be as part of a dental diagnosis or as a warning from your periodontist of what could happen if you fail to keep up good dental hygiene going forward.
Some form of periodontal disease will afflict a majority of Americans at some point in their life, though far fewer come down with the most advanced forms of gum disease (called periodontitis).
Around 3 million new cases of Periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, are diagnosed in the US each year. And there are millions more cases of less severe periodontal disease (gingivitis), that go undiagnosed and untreated each year, and which will likely progress into periodontitis.
Gum disease comes in 4 distinct stages of progression, beginning as gingivitis and culminating in advanced periodontitis. At first, its symptoms are mild and fully reversible. But left unchecked, it can lead to deterioration of gum and bone tissue, tooth loss, and infection/inflammations spreading from the mouth to other parts of the body.
The majority of US adults have at least some form and stage of gum disease. Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, can usually be 100% reversed with the proper periodontal treatment and an improved oral hygiene regimen.