Gum disease affects most adults to some degree during their lifetime. In the case of mild gum disease, such as gingivitis, the condition can be easily reversed and there are now long-lasting health problems. Periodontal disease however, which is the advanced phase of gum disease, can lead to long term problems. Periodontal disease causes some serious health problems and understanding more about the condition can help you to avoid ever developing it.
This article will guide you through the causes, symptoms and treatment options for gum disease.
Root Cause of Periodontal Gum Disease
Periodontal disease develops when earlier stages and symptoms of gum disease have been ignored. The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. This is a bacterial infection of the gingiva (gum tissue). Gum disease, whether it be mild gingivitis or advanced periodontitis, is always caused by bacteria.
Every day your mouth is bombarded by large amounts of bacteria growing on the teeth and gums. These bacteria feed and flourish off the leftover food particles that remain in your mouth after each meal.
If these food particles and bacteria are not removed regularly through a consistent home oral health routine, then the gingiva becomes irritated and inflamed. Over time this irritation of the gum tissue can become a bacterial infection.
The bacterial infection is made worse by the presence of plaque and tartar. Plaque is a sticky kind of matter that is produced when your saliva and oral bacteria interact. It is a yellowish kind of color and clings onto the teeth and gums. If plaque is not brushed and flossed away, it can harden and become tartar. This is why you need to see your dentist or hygienist regularly in order to scrape it away before too much damage is done.
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
There are many different signs and symptoms of gum disease that warn a patient there is something awry with their oral health. Gingivitis in its early stages can be difficult to notice. Dentists are able to see the initial signs of the condition, which is one of the reasons that it is important to have regular dental check-ups.
There are also things for you to be on the lookout for so that you can reverse gum disease before it becomes serious periodontal disease.
The signs of gingivitis to be aware of include:
- Bleeding gums after you brush your teeth
- Bad breath that does not go away after brushing
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums that are moving away from the teeth
If you have some of the symptoms of gingivitis, you need to make a dental appointment right away. They will be able to provide a correct diagnosis and provide you with an effective treatment plan. Starting treatment in the early days of the condition means that you will be able to fully recover your oral health quickly and easily.
In most cases gingivitis that is identified early can be reversed simply by sticking faithfully to an oral hygiene routine that includes brushing after each meal, flossing carefully and using a natural mouthwash or liquid toothpaste containing anti-bacterial botanical oils such as spearmint and peppermint.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
When gingivitis is not eradicated early on, then the infection will worsen until it becomes a condition known as periodontitis or periodontal disease. At this stage, the infection is very serious and there is a risk of long-term damage to oral health.
There are various symptoms of periodontitis to be aware of:
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Teeth falling out
- Shifting of teeth, which alters the shape of your bite
- Infection of the gum bone
Treatments for periodontal disease
If you are diagnosed with periodontitis by your dentist, then you are likely to require some form of procedure in order to get rid of the infection and restore your dental health. There are several surgical and non-surgical procedures that may be performed. Among them are the following:
Root planing and scraping – is performed by your dentist to remove tartar and bacteria that are under the gum line and smooth out the pockets of bacteria that can form around the teeth.
Pocket reduction surgery – this may be undertaken when there are large, bacteria filled pockets around the tooth root. These are often filled with infection so the bacteria will generally be cleaned out and then the gum tissue may be surgery stitched back into place.
Gum tissue grafting – when the gum tissue is so infected that it needs to be replaced, skin may be grafted from the roof of the mouth.
Medications – antibiotics will often be prescribed to accompany periodontal disease treatments in an attempt to get the bacterial infection under control.
Your dentist may choose any option above or another periodontal disease treatment depending on your individual condition and needs. These days many surgical dental procedures to reverse gum disease are performed with laser rather than traditional surgical implements.
Gum Disease Prevention
Most people are able to easily avoid developing gum disease and periodontal disease causes by following a regular home dental hygiene routine. This should include brushing your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-headed brush or an electric toothbrush with an oscillating head. Try to use toothpaste that does not contain harmful chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulphate. Use dental tape to floss between your teeth and remove stuck foot particles. Finally, rinse your mouth at least twice a day with a natural, alcohol-free mouthwash.
What are you waiting for. Now that you are armed with this information start taking action now.