What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease refers to a condition where the gum tissue becomes inflamed and swollen. The most common reason behind the development of gum disease is poor oral hygiene maintenance. If gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to severe inflammation of the gums, bone loss and even tooth loss.
What are the Causes of Gum Diseases?
Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of gum and periodontal problems. Other causes of gum disease include:
Some medications can cause gum inflammation as a side effect
Some females can also have gum problems during pregnancy
Bad habits like smoking can also cause gum problems
Individuals with chronic illnesses like Diabetes and HIV are at a higher risk of developing gum problems.
How does Gum Disease Develop
When regular oral hygiene is neglected, a layer of food and bacterial debris deposits on our teeth which is known as the plaque. Over time, the plaque becomes hardened and gets converted into the calculus or tartar. Harmful bacteria feed on these plaque and tartar deposits, which result in swelling of the gums. In addition, the toxins released by the bacteria destroys the attachment between the gums, jaw bone and the teeth.
What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Red or swollen gums
Bad breath which does not go away after brushing
Sensitive or tender gums
Bleeding from gums after brushing or eating
Gum start receding from their original position, exposing the roots
How Gum Disease is Treated
Oral Hygiene Maintenance – the most common reason for gum inflammation is poor oral hygiene. Dr. Lynn will give instructions to patients regarding the best method to brush their teeth and how to floss properly. If required, she will also prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash which will help in eliminating the harmful bacteria from the gums.
Professional Teeth Cleaning – to remove the plaque and tartar deposits from teeth, Dr. Lynn will perform teeth cleaning, which involves using a special ultrasonic scaler tip which vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency. In the case of advanced gum or periodontal problems, deep scaling, also known as scaling and root planning, may be required.
Medical Intervention – if Dr. Lynn feels that the reason for gum disease is due to any medication or due to hormonal changes, she will refer you to your primary healthcare physician.
Lifestyle Changes –for those who smoke, quitting this habit can also help in the reduction of the inflammation of gums.
What Happens if I Don’t Get Gum Disease Treated?
This is a scary situation. When you have swollen gums and you don’t seek dental treatment, the harmful toxins released from the bacteria inside the plaque and tartar will destroy the fibers which attach the gums with the teeth and jaw bones. As a result, the gums start to recede downwards, and “pockets” start to form between the gums and the teeth. Up till now, this condition is called gingivitis and it is reversible simply with oral hygiene maintenance. However, if gingivitis is not treated timely, it progresses to periodontal inflammation which is characterized by the destruction of the jaw bone and increased mobility of the teeth. Advanced cases of periodontal inflammation are not reversible and ultimately result tooth loss.
Gum problems, although very serious and damaging for your oral health, can be easily avoided through regular oral hygiene maintenance. In addition, regular checkup visits at Metro Dental will also ensure that gum problems are detected and treated before they can cause permanent damage.