The human mouth may serve as a source of infection when there is neglected oral care. Of all the oral infections the most common, serious, and neglected infection is gum infection. The main reason for gum disease is poor oral hygiene. It is a serious disease and can sometimes lead to tooth loss at a very early stage. The early inflammatory stage of gum disease is called Gingivitis. The advanced form of Gingivitis with heavy destruction of supporting structures of the teeth is called Periodontitis.
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Tender Gums
- Bad Breath
- Loose Teeth
- Receding Gums
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is mainly caused by poor oral care. However, other factors can also contribute to periodontal disease. These include:
- Hormonal changes in women, during various stages of life, make the gums more suitable for the development of gum diseases.
- Certain chronic health conditions may also affect the condition of your gums. This includes diseases like Cancer or HIV that may interfere with the immune system.
- Diabetes affects the metabolism of the body. Diabetic patients are at higher risk of developing oral infections, including periodontal disease and cavities.
- Medications can affect the health of the oral cavity. Certain medications can affect the flow of saliva which has a protective effect on teeth and gums.
- Some drugs, such as the anticonvulsant drug Dilantin, anti-angina drug Procardia and antihypertensive drugs can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue. This will cause poor oral hygiene and leads to gum disease.
- Bad habits such as smoking make the gums harder to repair.
- Poor oral hygiene habits such as improper brushing and flossing on a daily basis, make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- A family history of gum disease can be a contributing factor to the development of more serious gum issues.
How is your gum disease identified?
During a dental visit, your dentist checks for these things:
- Gum bleeding, swelling, firmness of gums,
- Pocket depth (the space between the gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
- Teeth movement, sensitivity, and teeth alignment
Based on the severity and presence of symptoms the gum disease is diagnosed
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
The aim of any gum disease treatment are:
- to promote the reattachment of healthy gums to tooth surface;
- reduce swelling,
- reduce the depth of pockets and the risk of infection;
- to stop the disease progression to surrounding tissues.
Treatment option depends on the stage of the disease, your response to earlier treatments, and your overall health.
Treatment options range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues.
Other lifestyle and habitual changes that will decrease the risk, severity, and speed of gum disease include:
Stop Using tobacco:-
Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for the development of any form of gum disease. Smokers have a more serious form of gum disease than non-smokers with fewer symptoms. Smoking can lower the success rate of some treatments for gum disease.
Stress may make it difficult for the body’s immune system to fight against any infection.
Maintain a well-balanced diet:
Proper nutrition helps your immune system fight infection even in your oral cavity. Eating foods like vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes may repair your damaged tissue.
Avoid clenching and grinding of the teeth:
These actions may put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth. This could weaken the supporting system of the teeth causing destruction.
According to a study by the American Academy of Periodontology, 30% of Americans may be genetically prone to gum diseases even after good oral hygiene and regular dental follow-ups. Those who are genetically predisposed may be more likely to develop some form of gum disease. If any of your family members has gum disease, the chance of getting gum disease is more likely than normal. If your dentist finds you as a susceptible individual for gum disease they may recommend you for more frequent check-ups, professional cleanings, and treatments based on your gum health.
How to Take Care of Your Gums???
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day ensures that the sticky plaque does not accumulate along your gum line and irritates your gums. This reduces the risk of developing gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
Flossing removes the food debris that collects between your teeth. While less noticeable than plaque build-up on your gum line, the plaque between your teeth is just as harmful to your gums and oral health. Keep the plaque under control, to ensure you do not develop cavities or gum disease.
Rinse your mouth:
Rinsing your mouth daily with fluoride mouth wash can help loosen and remove the food debris that you may have missed while brushing and flossing. Mouth wash also rinses away any bacteria that may have accumulated in your mouth.
Not surprisingly, food plays a big role in the health of your gums and teeth. Stick to a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and dairy, and minimize sugary foods and sodas. Drinking the daily recommended amount of water can also help wash away food particles and bacteria inside your mouth.
Smoking and tobacco use greatly increases your risk of gum disease. Smoking weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to the bacteria in plaque that accumulates on your teeth. It also makes it difficult for your gums to heal if you need treatment.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHETHER YOU HAVE A GUM PROBLEM ???
Have you ever seen a bit of blood in your sink when you brush your teeth?
Gum bleeding can be the first sign of gum disease. When the gum disease is limited to the gums it is called gingivitis. If you don’t treat it, the infection can travel below the gum line and into the bone that supports your teeth. Then it becomes the next stage of the disease called periodontitis.
Both gingivitis and periodontitis have been shown to raise your risk of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, pneumonia, and cancer. Early detection can prevent any serious form of illness.
The human mouth is an inhabitant of more microorganisms. They feed on the food debris and stay on the plaque surface. These bacteria release certain toxins that may cause ill effects to the gums. The toxic chemicals are released to cause a foul smell. This is one of the reasons for bad breath. This is a sign of serious gum disease and requires immediate attention.
Gums That Get Smaller:
Two third of the teeth are covered by bone and gums. When the visible portion of the teeth increases it means the gum is receding. The receding gums indicate that it is losing its supporting bone. It is also the main sign of periodontal disease.
When consuming cold drinks your teeth may sign you if they are sensitive. The sensitivity may be a sign of gum disease. This may be due to the exposure of the sensitive part of the teeth, the dentin. The exposure of dentin may be due to the receding gums and abrasion in the neck of the teeth.
Wiggly Or Shifting Teeth:
Do you notice any change in your smile? Do you see any changes in the alignment of your teeth? Do you feel that your teeth are moving forward? The reason behind this will be the weakening of the supporting bone by the serious Gum disease.
The goal of treating gum disease is to control your infection and to prevent the loss of function of teeth. Different stages of the disease require a different level of treatment. Your cooperation in oral hygiene measures is very important in controlling any active gum disease.
The first line of treatment of any gum disease is the removal of local irritants. Unlike a regular cleaning, which is usually done above the gum line, deep cleaning goes under the gum line.
Professional dental cleaning is called scaling. This is a procedure of removing hard deposits using ultrasonic scaler tips around the teeth. The dentist may also perform something called root planning. Here the rough surfaces of the roots of your teeth are smoothened out. It helps the gum tissue reattach to your tooth surface, reducing the pocket formation around the teeth.
It may take several appointments to treat gum disease.
Antiseptic Chip Or Antibiotic Microspheres:
Here tiny gels or particles were inserted into pockets in your gums. They release the medication slowly in the gums to help reduce the gum disease by promoting healing
Here the antibiotic gel is applied over gums after a deep cleaning to stop local infection.
Taking an enzyme suppressant tablet after a deep cleaning will block certain enzymes in your mouth from breaking down gum tissue.
For more serious infections, antibiotics were prescribed.
If deep cleaning can’t take care of the whole problem, you may need to go deeper to fix it in the form of surgery. Your dentist may recommend it:
Gum Graft Surgery:
A Gum surgeon takes tissue from another part of your mouth (like your palate) and covers any exposed tooth roots to prevent further bone loss or decay and help sensitive teeth.
When there is more than a normal pocket depth and bone loss flap surgery is recommended. The gum tissue (flap) is reflected and the infected bone and tissues are debrided and the flap is sutured back to its normal position. This will help to attach the gingiva to its normal position.
Your dentist may advise you to use mouthwash. This will prevent the formation of hard deposits on the surface of the teeth.