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Gum Disease

There are many people around the world suffering from gum disease. Gum disease is called as periodontal disease in medical terms. It is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and surrounding bones.

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This causes gum tissues to become weak and unable to support the teeth it holds. People with gum disease often suffer from inflammation, soreness, bleeding and pain in the gums. Gum diseases are mostly caused by improper brushing that leads to plaque buildup on the teeth.

Types of Gum Diseases

Gum disease occurs around the tooth. If left untreated, inflamed gums begin to bleed and become painful. Finally, the gum infection causes loss of tooth.

There are two types of gum diseases that should not be taken lightly. These include gingivitis and periodontitis.

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Gingivitis:

The first sign of gum disease is gingivitis. When a person does not brush and floss, it leads to the development of plaque. This is the sticky material covering the teeth. It helps the growth of bacteria leading to infection. Thus, leads to red, swollen and bleeding gums. However, the teeth are still firmly held in their place and the gum tissues are not yet affected.

Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and can be easily treated with a little home care and basic dental treatment.

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Periodontitis:

Those who do not take gingivitis seriously and neglect the swelling and bleeding, it leads to periodontitis. The plaque on teeth starts to spread down to the gum line. The bacteria infection increases and causes release of harmful toxins. These toxins start breaking down the tissues and bones of the gums. This weakens the teeth and causes them to become loose.

Thus, periodontitis is one of the common causes of tooth loss, especially in adults.

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What Leads to Gum Diseases?

Bacteria are forever present in the mouth

They form the natural flora within the mouth. Eating, drinking as well as the formation of saliva all contributes to the growth of bacteria. This is necessary as they help with the breakdown of food to some extent. However, improper oral care can lead to increase in the normal number of bacteria present in the mouth. This increase leads to formation of plaque around the teeth.

The bacteria feeds on left over food particles stuck between the teeth. If one does not brush and floss, this plaque further develops into tartar that hardens and forms calculus. If this tartar begins to spread towards the gum line, it breaks down the tissues and weakens the hold on the teeth. Tartar is very difficult to remove and professionally, dental help is needed. Apart from improper dental care, gum diseases can be caused by other factors as well. These factors include:

Health Problems

People suffering from other health issues such as diabetes, infection, fever, cancer, HIV as well as other dental problems like cavities can suffer from gum diseases. Weakened immune system leads to increase in bacterial infection of the mouth.

Diet

Improper diet like eating a lot of starchy and sweet foods can lead to gum diseases. Starchy, acidic, sugary as well as fried foods makes our teeth prone to bacterial attack. Thus, it is important to brush one's teeth twice a day and rinse mouth every time after a meal. This will help avoid food particles from sticking to the mouth.

Malnutrition

Another aspect of improper diet is malnutrition. One suffers from various vitamin and mineral deficiencies that leads to a weakened immune system. One should eat fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products, proteins and fibers to give the body all the important nutrients and minerals like calcium. Remember, calcium helps keep the teeth strong and healthy.

Hormonal Changes

Women are more prone to gum diseases due to the hormonal changes occurring within the body. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, etc. all causes an upheaval of hormones within a woman’s body. Thus, making the gums and teeth more sensitive and prone to infection.

Smoking

People who smoke have a higher risk of developing gum diseases. Tobacco and tobacco products cause bad breath, yellowing or staining of teeth as well as weakened gums.

What Are The Symptoms of Gum Diseases?

The first sign of gum disease is the appearance of the gum line. Healthy gums are pink and firm in appearance. There is no discomfort or pain while brushing. However, people with gingivitis will suffer from the following symptoms of gum disease:

  • Painful gums
  • Swelling and inflammation of the gum line
  • Gums appear soft in touch
  • The pink color of gums changes to dark or pale red
  • Bleeding after one brush teeth

When one ignores these signs, the infection further aggravates leading to periodontitis. The signs of periodontitis are more intense and include:

  • Severe pain of the gum line
  • Increase in bleeding
  • Swelling of gums due to pus
  • Bad breath due to increase in bacterial infection
  • Formation of a bad taste within the mouth

Loose teeth as well as loss of tooth or more due to weak gums

Formation of abscess

If left untreated, the condition worsens and one develops a fever. Other than that, one feels fatigued and develops ulcers of the mouth.

What is the Treatment for Gum Disease?

When one observes swollen and bleeding gums, they should seek visit a dentist. He/she may advise the following treatments.

Scaling:

The dentist may clean the plaque and tartar using a procedure called scaling. The plaque and tartar are scrapped from the teeth. This may cause a little discomfort as the gums are sensitive due to the infection.

Medications:

If the infection is severe, the dentist may advise certain antibiotics. These medications help in fighting the infection.

Fluoride Toothpaste:

The dentist may advise the use of fluoride toothpaste as well as an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce the infection.

Dental restoration:

Patients with any crooked, chipped, misaligned teeth that are difficult to clean may be fixed. This helps in reducing the risk of gum disease as well as provides comfort for the patient when talking, biting and chewing.

How to Prevent Gum Diseases?

A little self-care is needed to prevent the onset of gum diseases. Some of the preventive measures one should undertake to prevent gum diseases is as follows:

  • Brush regularly, twice a day with good fluoride toothpaste or the one advised by a dentist.
  • Floss your teeth to eliminate the chances of plaque development.
  • Mouth rinses help remove any food particle sticking on teeth after a meal. Thus, reducing the chances of bacterial growth.
  • One should try to reduce the stress in their life and follow a healthy diet. Regular exercise and meditation will help keep the immune system strong and healthy.
  • Stop smoking as it not only causes dental problems, but also leads to many other health ailments.
  • People suffering from bruxism or have a habit of clenching their teeth should avoid doing so. This makes them lose the enamel and make teeth weak and prone to sensitivity.

Gum diseases caught in the early stages is easy to treat. Regular dental checkups will help treat any problem, before it goes out of hand. If you do not wish to lose your precious teeth, brush regularly and make sure you remain plaque-free. This is the best way to avoid mild as well as a severe form of gum diseases.

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Periodontal disease

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 07, 2015