Gum disease is a painful inflammation of the gums, which typically occurs due to a build-up of plaque and bacterial growth in your mouth and on your teeth. All of us have a range of bacteria in our mouths which causes plaque to be formed constantly, as some of these bacteria feed on the sugars in the food and drinks you consume. This plaque provides the perfect environment for the bacteria that causes periodontist gum disease to live and multiply. Gum disease causes and treatments for obvious reasons go hand in hand, as gum disease needs to be treated at its root cause or it can lead to more severe ailments including the loss of teeth.
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As mentioned, gum disease is basically a painful gum inflammation which, if not treated in time, can develop into two stages. Our immune system tries to rid itself of the plaque, which is what causes an inflammation response, resulting in redness and swelling around the teeth.
Gingivitis – a common form of gum disease that affects most adults at some point during their lives. While it is generally non-destructive and has mild symptoms, it can become more severe if not treated at the root cause. Gingivitis has two main forms; one is caused by plaque build-up, which irritates the gum and results in inflammation, discolouration, and pain. The second form is gingival lesions, which results from bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. It can also be caused by an allergic reaction, illness, or irritation caused by foreign bodies such as dentures.
Periodontitis – this condition is an advanced stage of gum disease that can occur when gingivitis is not treated properly. It affects the covering of the tooth root, the fibres, tissues, and bone that connect the root to the bone and can lead to tooth loss due to the harm caused to the tissue that surrounds the teeth.
Periodontal disease damages the seal of the gum, which leads to spaces forming between the teeth and gums. Bacteria get trapped in these packets known as ‘periodontal pockets’, which leads to even more damage occurring. Over time the bone is damaged and even larger spaces begin to form between the gum and the teeth.
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If you start experiencing any of the following it is most probable that you are suffering from gum disease.
There are a number of things that can cause gum disease; poor oral hygiene, illness, and bad habits can cause your gums to become unhealthy.
Detecting gum disease during the early stages will help prevent it from becoming severe and lead to further dental and health issues. If you experience early symptoms of gum disease you should immediately consult a dentist. During the consultation your teeth and gums will be checked and if necessary, x-rays of your teeth and bone will be done for further examination. Further tests or dental treatment will be recommended based on how severe your gum disease is.
If it is still in the early stages, you will be advised to maintain good oral hygiene and to regularly brush your teeth. If you do smoke, you will be advised to stop immediately and to have professional cleanings done by a dental hygienist on your teeth and gums. If your case is severe, then you will be referred to a specialist.
If your gum disease symptoms show signs of becoming severe, you will be asked to have deep cleaning or root planing done under the gums. You may also be prescribed antibiotics, gels, or creams to help with the healing. In very severe cases you may have to have some teeth removed or undergo gum surgery.
Generally, gum disease is preventable with proper care towards oral health. The most basic and effective way is to clean your teeth thoroughly every day. Maintain a proper daily dental care routine and make it part of your mornings and evenings so that you never forget. Removing plaque that causes gum disease is the best way to prevent gum disease.