Gum disease is a serious matter. If it is not taken care of sooner rather than later, it can lead to tooth loss and other health problems later on. Many people do not realise that they have gum disease until it has progressed over time. Luckily, your dentist can aid you in the prevention and reversal of periodontal disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a chronic inflammation of the gums. Also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, gum disease starts with the growth of bacteria in your mouth, and it is the major cause of most adult tooth loss. This gradually turns into an inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is one of the early stages of gum disease. If not treated, gum disease will eventually advance into periodontal disease.
Various causes of gum disease
Plaque is the main cause of gum disease. Plaque is a sticky film that you get on your teeth, and it is filled with bacteria. When you fail to brush and floss your teeth daily, plaque begins to harden into tartar. Tartar is extremely hard to remove. Over time, plaque causes gum irritation which leads to bleeding. The gum tissue begins to pull away, leaving space for more plaque and bacteria to hide. Eventually, gum disease destroys your gum tissue and can spread to the bone, making extraction of the affected teeth the only option.
Other factors that can lead to gum disease:
- Poor diet
- Certain medications
Gum disease treatment
Treating gum disease is possible if you make good oral hygiene a daily habit. Going to the dentist often can also aid in the treatment of gum disease. Your dentist offers a number of gum hygiene treatment techniques that are useful. Some of these include thorough teeth cleanings, fluoride rinses, and teeth scaling. If you need a deep cleaning of your teeth, your dentist can use a local anaesthetic. If gum disease becomes advanced, your dentist will refer you to a periodontal specialist who will assess your condition, treat it, and check for progress.
Gum disease prevention
The prevention of periodontal disease begins in your home. While regular dental visits are extremely important, good gum health starts with you.
- Floss every day. Flossing removes plaque that brushing cannot reach, and in between meals is beneficial.
- Eat healthy. Your diet has a lot to do with your gum health. Since sugar and foods high in carbs cause plaque, try to avoid them.
Stop smoking. Smoking – even smokeless tobacco – increases your risk of oral cancer.