What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is also known as periodontal (pronounced: per-ee-oh-don-tul) disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that support the teeth. Untreated gum disease can become very serious, causing teeth to become loose or fall out. Gum disease is usually caused by a buildup of plaque, an invisible sticky layer of germs that forms naturally on the teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria, which produce toxins that irritate and damage the gums. Hundreds of types of bacteria live in the mouth, so keeping plaque at bay is a constant battle. That's why brushing and flossing every day - and regular trips to the dentist - are so important.
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.
Types of Gum Disease
Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Periodontitis: Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
Treatment options for Gum Disease?
Some of the common treatment options for gum disease are antibiotics and surgery. Dental-hygiene treatment has an important role in its therapy, which must entail the extensive cleanup and disinfection of sachets (curretage coupled with Corsodyl gel). In more severe cases it might be necessary to surgically intervene and remove the junk around loose teeth. The atrophy of gingiva can develop in case of inadequate tooth brushing techniques. Gingiva will draw back causing sensitivity. As a treatment palliative (special toothpastes, gum paints) and surgical methods are available. Periodontal dentistry can help you feel more secure with your smile and ultimately help strengthen your teeth and promote better dental health overall.
- Heart Diseases
- Pragnancy Problems
- Respiratory Diseases
Fortunately, there's good news: Gum disease is usually preventable. Just take care of your teeth, starting now. Don't wait! Brush twice a day for at least 3 minutes each time (about the length of your favorite song), and floss daily. If you're not sure whether you're brushing or flossing properly, your dentist or dental hygienist can show you the best techniques.
Always brush with a toothpaste that contains fluoride; some dentists also recommend daily mouth rinses containing fluoride. Use a toothbrush with soft, polished bristles, as these are less likely to irritate or injure gum tissue. Be sure to replace your toothbrush at least every 3 to 4 months - a worn-out toothbrush can injure your gums. (Some toothbrush brands contain color indicators on the bristles to remind you to replace them when they become worn.)
Eat a healthy diet. Avoid snacks and junk foods packed with sugar that plaque-causing bacteria love to feed on. Don't smoke! Cigarettes and chewing tobacco cause mouth irritation and are very unhealthy for gums and teeth.