Gum disease also referred to as Periodontitis is a dental disease affecting the gums of your teeth. Gums hold the teeth in place covering your teeth’s’ roots. A bacterial infection on your gums will lead to Gingivitis which is a mild form of Periodontitis characterized by inflamed gums. If not treated, Gingivitis develops into gum disease. Gum disease can be chronic or mild depending on the extent of bacterial infection in the gums.
Chronic gum disease results in the loss of teeth as a result of severe inflammation of the gums and breakdown of the bone and tissue holding the teeth firmly in place.
Causes of Gum Disease
Genetics – Some people are more susceptible to gum disease than others.
Smoking – This dries your mouth limiting the availability of saliva in your mouth. Smoke also poses a challenge when it comes to treating gum disease.
Dry mouth – Without enough saliva to wash away bacteria in the mouth, the buildup of harmful bacteria causes infection to the gums starting the development of gum disease. If already infected, lack of enough saliva in the mouth worsens the situation developing the Gingivitis to Periodontitis.
Diabetes – Diabetes causes dry mouth leading to gum infections by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. A patient suffering from diabetes takes longer to respond to gum disease treatment hence prompting the progression of the disease to critical stages.
Poor dental hygiene – Gum disease is a bacterial disease fueled by poor dental hygiene. This encourages the buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Symptoms of gum disease
Gum disease can be mild and painless within the early stages. These are the symptoms to watch out for.
Bleeding gums when brushing and flossing
Red, tender and swollen gums
Tooth sensitivity to temperature
Receding gums exposing the root of the tooth
Bad breathe and taste in the mouth
Sharp pain and discomfort when chewing certain foods
Pus around the teeth and gums
Loose and shaky teeth
Prevention and Treatment of Gum Disease
In order to prevent gum disease, proper oral hygiene should be observed. Brushing and flossing should get rid of the plaque minimizing bacterial activity in the mouth. Smoking should be addressed to prevent gum disease. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit smoking. To stay clear of gum disease, you need to minimize or eliminate any activities that cause harmful bacteria to thrive in your mouth. Eliminating bacterial development and activity in your mouth prevents infections to your gums keeping you free from gum disease.
It is possible to treat gum disease while still in the early stage (Gingivitis). A thorough cleanup by your dentist will remove the stubborn tartar formed on your teeth eliminating the chances of gum infections.
Scaling is another treatment option for advanced gum disease.
A root canal can also be administered to remove pus and infections from the gums and teeth.
Laser treatment is used to remove resistant tartar ridding your teeth of infections
In case of severely advanced Periodontitis, gingival flap surgery is used to remove periodontal pockets created by inflamed gums.
Advanced gum disease causes damage to the bone and connective tissues holding the teeth in place. Bone grafting is performed to restore the bones to their initial state so as to hold the teeth or implants in place.
Your dentist may prescribe medication if the gum disease is still in its early stages. Medication may also be used in combination with surgery or other treatment methods.
Gum disease affects more men than women and can remain unnoticed while in the early stages. Prevention is always better than cure hence observing proper oral hygiene is a key factor in preventing gum disease. Regular visits to your dentist will help diagnose the disease in its early stages and treat promptly to avoid its progression. If you exhibit symptoms of the disease, visit your dentist for a proper diagnosis.