What causes gum disease?
Periodontal disease may range from gum inflammation to serious disease i.e., major damage to the bone and soft tissue that usually support the teeth. In the worst case, teeth are lost completely. The occurrence of gum disease whether it is slowed down or gets worse, depends on how well people care for their gums and teeth every day.
Generally, mouth is full of bacteria, along with mucus and other particles that form a colorless, sticky plaque on teeth. Flossing and brushing help to get rid of plaque to certain extent. Plaque that is not removed can harden up and form tartar which is not easy to clean through brushing. Only a professional dental hygienist can perform the process of removing it.
The longer tartar and plaque are remained on teeth, the more harmful they will become. Bacteria leads to gum inflammation which is called gingivitis. In this disease, the gums become swollen, red and bleed easily. It is one of the mild form of gum disease that can be reversed with flossing and brushing daily and also going through regular teeth cleaning procedure by a dental hygienist. This type of gum disease does not include any tissue or bone loss that holds the teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated effectively, it can lead to periodontitis. In this disease, gums will be taken out from the teeth and form space that become infected. The immune system fights against the bacteria as the plaque grows along and spreads under the gum line. Body’s response to infection and bacterial toxins start to cut down the connective tissue and bone that helps to hold the teeth in place. If not treated properly, the tissues, gums, bones, that support the teeth are destroyed totally. The teeth may consequently become loose and need to be removed.
- Hormonal changes: Changes in the levels of hormones can make the gums more susceptible to develop the diseases.
- Smoking: It is one of the risk factors associated with the development of gum diseases. Smoking also reduces the chance for successful treatments.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are usually at higher risk of developing infections.
- Medications: There are numerous medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which usually provides a protective effect in preventing dental problems. Absence of saliva in the mouth makes it more susceptible to infections such as gum disease. Also, few medicines may cause abnormal growth of the gum tissues; this can keep the gums and teeth clean.
- Genetic susceptibility: Some people are more susceptible to gum disease than others because of the genes they have.
Symptoms of having gum disease
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen or red gums
- Painful chewing teeth
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Bleeding or tender gums
- Longer appearing teeth and receding gums
Ways to treat gum disease
The main goal of treating gum disease is to control the infection. The type of treatment vary based on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment insists the patient to follow certain daily care at home. The dentist may also suggest altering certain behaviors such as smoking to improve the treatment outcome.