Gum disease is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and, without treatment, can destroy the bone that supports your teeth. Bacteria that destroy the tissue around your teeth cause periodontitis, also known as gum disease. In severe cases, you may experience tooth loss. Therefore, gum disease is considered as a dangerous enemy of oral heath. Let’s find out everything about gum disease with the below article!
What’s the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?
Gingivitis (gum inflammation) usually develops before periodontitis (gum disease). However, not all periodontitis is caused by gingivitis. Gingivitis affects almost everyone at some point in their lives, and because of its minor symptoms, it is easy to dismiss. However, if you do not get treatment, it may worsen and harm your mouth. The good news is that by brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist on a regular basis, you may prevent or even reverse it.
In the early stages of gingivitis, when bacteria in plaque develop, the gums become inflamed and more prone to bleeding while cleaning teeth. Despite the fact that the gums may be swollen, the teeth are still securely lodged in their sockets. There has been no irreversible damage to bone or other tissue.
Plaque is a sticky layer of microorganisms and food that builds around your teeth when you don’t brush, floss, or rinse with mouthwash. Muck accumulation produces acids that eat away at the enamel on the exterior of your teeth, resulting in decay. Plaque hardens into tartar after 72 hours, making it harder to fully clean your teeth and gums and forming along the gum line. This accumulation irritates and inflames your gums over time, resulting in gingivitis.
Pockets occur when the inner layer of the gum and bone pushes away from the teeth in a person who has periodontitis. These microscopic spaces between the gums and teeth retain debris and can lead to illness. As the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line, the body’s immune system eliminates the bacteria.
Toxins or poisons produced by bacteria in plaque and the “good” enzymes produced by the body to battle infections begin to degrade the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As the illness progresses, the pockets deepen and more bone and gum tissue is lost. Teeth lose their ability to maintain their place and become loose as a result of this. Gum disease is the most common cause of adult tooth loss.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The main contributor to gum disease is plaque. Periodontal disease, however, may also be caused by other circumstances. A few of these include:
- Gingivitis is more prone to form when gums become more reactive as a result of hormonal changes such as those that occur during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation.
- Illnesses may have an effect on the health of your gums. This includes diseases that weaken the immune system, such as cancer or HIV. Diabetes patients are more likely to develop infections such as cavities and periodontal disease because the disease inhibits the body’s ability to use blood sugar.
- Because many medications lower saliva flow, which protects teeth and gums, oral health might suffer. Some medications are available, such as the anticonvulsant Dilantin and the angina meds Procardia and Adalat.
- The ability of gum tissue to heal itself is limited by bad habits like smoking.
- Gingivitis is more likely to develop if you maintain poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing and flossing daily.
- Gingivitis development may be influenced by a family history of dental disease.
What Are Gum Disease’s Symptoms?
Gum disease can progress even in its latter stages without presenting any visible symptoms. Periodontal disease symptoms are typically minor, although they are not totally gone. Some symptoms may point to a specific illness kind. Symptoms of gum disease include
- Bleeding gums both during and after brushing your teeth
- Having red, inflamed gums. Gums in good health should be pink and firm.
- Persistent halitosis or an unpleasant aftertaste
- Recessed gums
- Deep pockets developing between teeth and gums
- Moving or loose teeth
- Alterations in the way partial dentures fit or the way teeth fit together when you bite down
Even if you are symptom-free, you may still have some degree of gum disease. Gum disease can sometimes affect only a few teeth in a person, such as the molars. A dentist or periodontist is the only person who can diagnose and track gum disease.
How Do Dentists Recognize Periodontal Disease?
Your dentist often looks for these things during a dental examination:
- Bloody gums, swollen gums, hard gums, and deep pockets (the space between the gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
- Movement of the teeth, sensitivity, and ideal tooth alignment
- Your jawbone can be used to identify the deterioration of the bone that surrounds your teeth.
What Is The Treatment?
Gum disease treatment attempts to slow the progression of the disease, increase the reattachment of healthy gums to teeth, and reduce swelling, pocket depth, and infection risk. The optimal course of action for you will be determined by the severity of your condition, your response to previous treatments, and your overall health. Nonsurgical treatments to bacterial growth control are available, as are surgical approaches to repair supporting tissues.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Gum Disease?
Gingivitis can be reversed and gum disease can nearly always be avoided from worsening with good plaque control. To properly eliminate plaque, professional cleanings at least twice a year, as well as daily brushing and flossing, are essential.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Replace your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if the bristles begin to degrade. Old, worn-out ones will not clean teeth as well. Brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that can be reached.
Flossing removes plaque and food pieces from between teeth and below the gum line. Floss at least once a day. Waiting until you have a dental impaction is not a good idea. Daily flossing removes plaque from difficult-to-reach places. You can also use interdental brushes, picks, or small brushes that fit between your teeth. Ask your dentist how to use them properly to avoid damaging your gums.
Use mouthwash. Antibacterial mouthwash, in addition to avoiding gingivitis, also fights plaque and bad breath. According to the American Dental Association, antibacterial rinses assist to reduce the germs that cause plaque and gum disease. Ask your dentist which mouthwash is best for you.
With other health and lifestyle changes, gum disease can be lowered in risk, treated less aggressively, and established more slowly.. And they are:
- Give quit smoking: Smoking may harm your teeth and gums as well as your heart and lungs. Smoking raises the risk of gum disease in smokers by seven times that of nonsmokers, and it also lowers the efficiency of numerous medications.
- Be less stressed: When you’re stressed, your immune system may have a tougher time fighting off sickness.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Sugars and carbohydrates from meals fuel the bacteria in your mouth’s creation of acids that destroy tooth enamel. Candy and junk food are high in added sugar and carbohydrate. Avoid them if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy. A healthy diet helps the immune system fight sickness. Antioxidant-rich meals, such as those high in vitamin E (vegetable oils, almonds, and green leafy vegetables), can help your body restore damaged tissue (citrus fruits, broccoli, and potatoes).
- Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth: These repeated actions may put too much strain on the tissues that support teeth, hastening tissue degradation.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, despite maintaining good oral hygiene and making other healthy lifestyle choices, up to 30% of Americans may have a hereditary tendency to developing gum disease. Furthermore, persons who are genetically predisposed to gum disease may be six times more likely to get it. If someone in your family has gum disease, you may be at a higher risk. If you are more prone to gum disease, your dentist or periodontist may recommend more frequent inspections, cleanings, and treatments to properly control the condition.
If it has been six months since your previous visit to the dentist, schedule a cleaning to remove plaque and tartar accumulation from your teeth. Brushing method should be discussed with your dentist. Gingivitis can be caused by pushing too hard or missing spots. Your gums should feel better in approximately a week if you brush twice a day, floss once a day, and rinse once a day after a cleaning.
See more: Gum Disease and 7 main symptoms
Does Gum Disease Cause Other Health Problems?
According to the CDC, researchers have apparently uncovered probable links between gum disease and other severe medical conditions. In those with strong immune systems, bacteria in the mouth that enters the bloodstream offer minimal concern. However, in some cases, these microorganisms are connected to illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. Diabetes can exacerbate gum disease, and diabetes can raise the risk of gum disease.
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