We all know that we should be looking after our teeth and following a good oral hygiene routine. However, most people do not pay close enough attention to brushing, flossing and rinsing their mouths. Eventually they have pain in the gums and teeth. The pain usually comes, however. long after the disease has been in process.
Most adults will develop some degree of gum disease infection. In addition, very few of us make it through adulthood without having to have fillings, crowns or undergo more serious dental procedures such as root canal surgery. It can do serious damage to our bank account. This can all be avoided in the early stages of gum disease.
Mild gum disease
Advanced periodontal disease does not just appear from nowhere. It is a gradual process that begins with small amounts of bacteria irritating the gum tissue. Over time, it becomes mild gum disease and eventually a more serious health issue.
Gingivitis is generally the first kind of oral health problem that adults develop. This is a mild infection of the gingiva (gum tissue) and teeth. If you develop gingivitis, you are likely to notice some of the following symptoms:
- Swollen gums
- Redness and inflammation of the gum tissue
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth
If you notice any of these signs, you should visit your dentist for a check-up so they can provide a deep clean to remove bacteria and plaque and give you advice about how to effectively treat the condition. When you notice the early signs of gingivitis and seek out advice, you are generally able to reverse the condition very easily.
Typically, treatment for gingivitis involves merely following your oral hygiene routine religiously. In order to restore your gum health, you will need to brush, floss and use a mouthwash at least twice a day. For best results have your dentist recommend products and show you how to brush and floss using the right technique. Alternatively, an electric toothbrush with an oscillating head may be a good choice to remove the maximum amount of bacteria and plaque with each brushing. Start good habits today.
Advanced Gum disease
Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis, is the stage that follows gingivitis. If a person does not seek out timely treatment when they have gingivitis, the bacterial infection will continue to develop. The plaque and bacteria that have accumulated under the gum line convert into tartar, which is a calcified substance that must be cleaned by a dental hygienist or dentist.
This can lead to very serious infection and more serious dental problems. Unfortunately, when you have periodontal disease, you may not be able to fully reverse the condition and may experience some permanent damage to your dental health.
Some of the damaging symptoms that you may experience when you have periodontal disease include:
- Receding gums – where the gums pull away from the teeth, which diminishes the support they can offer to the teeth.
- Periodontal pockets – pockets, which look like puckered gum tissue, where the tooth and the gum meet. These are filled with harmful bacteria that further destroy the gum tissue, tooth and even gum bone.
- Loose teeth – since the gums have receded away from the teeth, they do not get enough support. This can result in teeth falling out. This is a permanent problem as teeth cannot be replaced and you will instead have to implant prosthetics.
- Abscesses – since the bacterial infection is now quite advanced, abscesses can appear around the tooth root. These become very painful and can potentially leak out pus.
- Infected gum bone – infection can go all the way down into the bone and lead to a need for intensive anti-biotic treatment and surgery. Once you loose bone you cannot gain it back. Gum disease is very serious and should not be taken lightly.
Learn more about periodontitis treatment and its root cause.
Who is at risk of developing gum disease?
Children are unlikely to develop gum disease, but adults have a very high risk of developing gingivitis. As an adult, there are a couple of factors that may heighten your risk of developing gum disease:
- not brushing teeth regularly or thoroughly
- certain illnesses where the immune system function is impaired
- eating a diet high in sugar or processed foods
- pregnancy, menopause or other times of hormonal upheaval for women
How to Treat Periodontal Disease
Once you have developed advanced periodontal disease, it is imperative that you seek out treatment. By this stage it may be impossible to fully recover from the condition without permanent damage being felt. Treatments may include a combination of non-surgical procedures where the bacteria, plaque and tartar are removed from the mouth; medications such as antibiotics used to kill off the bacteria and surgical procedures to remove bacteria or to restore healthy gum tissue. Do not wait for severe gum disease, take action today.