Knowing the basics of gum disease can greatly aid you in preventing, treating and in identifying gum disease.
Considering that according to recent expert estimates that nearly eighty percent of all people worldwide suffer from some form of gum disease or another, it’s incremental in proper oral health care during the present day to be appraised of gum disease basics.
Even if you have pink and healthy gums, it’s important to take as best care of them as you possibly can to ensure good oral health, and to prevent becoming a candidate for gum disease. This information on gum disease basics should serve to better inform you about the ins and outs, ups and downs of gum disease, how you can identify it, and what to do if you think that you may have gum disease.
Who Gets Gum Disease?
The most important question that can be poised when addressing the issue of gum disease basics is who gets gum disease? The scary answer is that anybody can get gum disease. Prevention is the best and also is the most assured method. The leading reason why most people get gum disease is due to improper oral health care, and lack of seeing their dentists for regularly scheduled visits. While it may seem to be nuisance to brush and floss your teeth every day (and twice per in between meals), and while it may seem like an unwelcome chore to have to see your dentist, these critical steps are your best prevention for gum disease.
Minor gum diseases, such as gingivitis, for example, usually are not accompanied by any signs of discomfort, and many people are not even aware that they suffer from it. Gum disease is something that your dentist will check for and can easily treat in the early stages before it progresses to a more serious form of periodontal disease that requires a specialized and costlier approach.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease basics imply knowing what actually causes gum disease in the first place. Gum diseases are caused by inflammation of the gums that can affect the health of the gum tissue, bone, ligaments and teeth. Gum diseases are caused by bacteria infecting the mouth, which forms a nearly invisible film on the teeth and gums called “plaque.” The plaque causes irritation and inflammation of the gums.
When not properly removed through brushing and flossing, the plaque will continue to build up around your teeth and gums, infecting them further and hardening into a substance called “tartar.” When not treated properly, this can cause your gums to become infected and swell, and can cause for loose teeth, tooth decay and ultimately tooth loss.
The Three Stages of Gum Disease
Knowing your gum disease basics involves also knowing what the three different stages of gum disease consist of.
- Gingivitis: Is the first stage of gum disease, and the most easily treatable. It is characterized by irritated and inflamed gums that sometimes bleed. Gingivitis is caused by the buildup of plaque that produces toxins which can irritate and inflame the tissues of the gums. This is the most treatable gum disease, which can be reversed with proper dental care before it progresses into a more serious form that attacks the connective tissues and the bones which hold the teeth in place.
- Periodontitis: This is the second stage of gum disease, where the bones and connective tissues that hold the teeth into place have been significantly damaged. It is characterized by the gums detaching from the teeth and forming gum pockets that can trap in bits of plaque, bacteria, toxins and even foods. With adequate at-home care and aggressive dental treatment, future damage to the gums and teeth can be prevented.
- Advanced Periodontitis: Is the third stage of gum disease. The bones and connective tissues that support the teeth and gums have been mostly destroyed in this stage. This can create shifting teeth or loose teeth, and without a very progressive approach to treatment, tooth removal may be necessary.
Gum Disease Basics: Determining if You Have Gum Disease
You may be wondering how you can tell if you have gum disease. While gum disease can take place at almost any stage during a person’s lifetime, there are some definitive and key signs of it. If you notice any of these following signs, make sure to see your dentist as soon as possible so that you can get an expert diagnoses.
- Gums bleed when you brush or floss them
- Your gums are swollen, red or puffy
- Your teeth appear longer or narrower
- You can see the gums pulling away or detaching from the teeth (gum pockets)
- Your teeth bite together differently than they used to
- You see pus being secreted from your gums (gum boils)
- You suffer from persistent bad breath
- Your gums are very sensitive all of the time
- Healthy gums
- Periodontal disease
- Advanced periodontal disease
Gum Disease Basics: How Do You Treat Different Gum Diseases?
- During the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis), it’s rather easily treated using daily brushing and flossing, mouth rinses, and tongue scraping, combined with a balanced diet and regular trips to see your dentist.
- Professional mouth cleanings are required by a dentist to remove hardened plaque called tartar, which causes gum disease. The dentist will clean and scale the teeth to remove tartar and plaque deposits.
- In instances of more serious gum disease, a dentist may use a process called root scaling and root planning, which smooths out the roots to make them less susceptible to plaque and tartar, and which also uses a powerful antimicrobial rinse to kill any deep bacterial infections.
- Gum grafts may be required for receding gum lines to correct the gum lines and restore health to any exposed roots.
- Removal of infected teeth and treatment of any infected roots due to gum diseases can be performed with a root canal procedure.
- Pocket depth reduction procedures may need to be performed to reduce infection and help the gums to reattach to the teeth.
- Regeneration procedures may be necessary to graft bone and tissues that have been damaged due to serious gum disease.