Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth, or what we commonly call gums. Ignoring this disease may cause the gums to break down, resulting in the need for gum disease treatment. When you lose the gums supporting your teeth, your teeth fall out, an expensive price to pay for not caring about your gum, right!
Causes of Gum Disease:
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. Dental plaque contains bacteria that produce toxins which irritate and damage the gums. When dental plaque and dental tartar build up around the teeth, gums become inflamed. Now, when bacterial dental plaque feels completely ignored, they continue to destroy the gum tissues around the plaque-and-tartar-surrounded teeth.
Symptoms of Gum Disease:
Gum disease starts slowly, beginning with some redness of the gums, tenderness and puffiness, probably a little bleeding and bad breath so relentless that even the strongest mouthwash can’t wash it away longer than a couple of minutes. Though gum disease often exhibits some symptoms, it may be possible to have the disease active in your mouth without any warning signs. This is why regular dental visits are very important. You don’t want to be ignoring bacteria attacking your gums that you were never aware of in the first place.
Types of gum disease:
Gingivitis – Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum 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.
Gum disease can be easily prevented by periodically performing the following steps
- Regular brushing & flossing
- Regular dental visit every 6 months
- Visit your dentist as early as you notice the symptoms
Mild form of gum disease can be easily treated with simple gum treatment (called scaling & root planning or SRP) and can be easily prevented with regular follow-up every 6 months
The more advanced forms may require deeper procedures, ranging from comprehensive SRP to surgical procedures, based on the severity of the gum disease.