Lack of this keratinized gum tissue around teeth can lead to:
- Difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene
- Inflammation of the gum
- Bone and gum loss
- The sensitivity of teeth due to root exposure.
- Lengthy and costly treatment resulting from severe loss of bone and gum
How does gum disease develop?
The primary cause of gum disease is plaque – an adhesive layer that forms from food debris. When plaque is not removed it hardens up into tartar (calculus) – an ideal home for the bacteria which cause gum disease. Bacteria in the plaque and tartar secrete toxins that cause infection and destroy the gums and bone that support the teeth. In addition, your body produces substances that destroy the infected gum.
Most people suffer from some form of gum disease, however, the disease develops slowly in most people and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life. Unfortunately, because gum disease progresses painlessly, most people do not notice the damage it is doing and over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. The longer the teeth are left untreated, the more complex treatment can become.
Gingivitis is a common but mild form of gum disease, the first sign of which is often bleeding gums. Left untreated, it can progress to a more serious condition called periodontitis
Periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease. Calculus buildups to reach below your gum line, causing the gums to separate from the teeth and supporting bone, leading to the development of periodontal pockets. This pockets may cause swelling, bleeding, pain while chewing, and teeth looseness and misalignment. Sometimes sores develop inside the mouth. Many patients experience persistent bad breath, as well as tooth sensitivity. Another symptom could be the discharge of pus from the gums. Unless treated, periodontitis symptoms will worsen and your teeth could fall out.
How to get rid of gum disease?
The least expensive and least painful way to deal with gum disease is prevention.
The key to preventing gum disease is simply maintaining good oral hygiene and includes:
- Brushing teeth twice a day for at least two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste.
- Flossing at least once a day.
- Rinsing with antibacterial fluoride mouthwash.
- Using a water flosser to clean hard-to-reach places (especially if you are prone to gingivitis).
- Changing your toothbrush regularly.
- Being extra careful with cleaning if you wear braces.
- No smoking.
- Visiting your dentist and hygienist regularly, as advised for a scaling/cleaning appointments.