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All you need to know about gum disease!

Gum disease is extremely common and they can happen to anyone at any particular age. If you have a gum disease, your gums might bleed when you brush your teeth and you will have bad breath. This is the early stage of gum disease which is known as gingivitis.

If gingivitis is not treated, then there are high chances of it developing into a condition called periodontitis. This affects the tissues that support teeth and clasp them in place.

If periodontitis is not medicated then the bone in jaw may get damaged and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth.

Symptoms of gum disease include:

Gum disease does not take place overnight. At times, we tend to ignore the symptoms but if they are detected at an early stage then it’s easy to cure it. Some of the symptoms are-

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitivity issue
  • Longer appearing teeth

Causes of gum disease are:

The primary cause of gum disease is neglected oral hygiene that allows bacteria to remain in teeth and infect the gums. Some other causes are-

  • Smoking prevents the healing process of the gum
  • Crooked or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque to accrue and are harder to clean.
  • Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause typically correspond with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more prone to bacterial attack.
  • Cancer treatment can make a person more naive to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Alcohol adversely affects oral defense mechanisms.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet which has high volume of sugar and carbohydrates and low water intake will increase the formation of plaque.
  • Diabetes impairs circulation and the gum’s ability to heal.

Treatment of gum disease:

With careful assessment, it is usually possible to completely cure the gum disease. The main aim is to obliterate the bacterial plaque which is causing the disease process and to initiate excellent oral hygiene practices. Ways to treat are-

  • Maintaining Oral hygiene

The aim of the oral hygiene is to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth which will reduce the level of inflammation . Your dentist will suggest you the apt brushing technique in order to treat the disease.

  • Professional cleaning

All soft deposits are removed from accessible areas of the teeth and the teeth is polished and treated with fluoride. Depending on the improvement noticed in plaque control and gum health, further cleaning is carried out in upcoming visits.

  • Antibiotic therapy

In some cases antibiotics are prescribed to deal with active or persistent gum infections which have not responded to oral hygiene measures.

  • Corrective (surgical) treatment

Sometimes, a surgery is carried out to clean away plaque bacteria and sublimates that are beneath the gum within periodontal pockets and on the root surfaces at the furcation (where the roots diverge). These areas are out of reach of brushes and floss and inflammation will persist in these sites if bacteria are not removed.

Like most dental diseases, gum disease is a gradual disease. In the initial stage, the infection is limited to the gums. If left untreated, this eventually spreads to the bones supporting teeth and starts deteriorating them. Therefore, earlier the treatment is done, lesser the damage done.