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Richard Cox

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Published on: 28 Sep 2016 by richardcox

Gum Disease: What You Should Know About It

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. Millions of people are infected but only a very small percent seek treatment for their gum disease.

Unaware of what gum disease is? Below are some of the facts you need to know about.

WHAT CAUSES GUM DISEASE?

Like any other dental problems, gum disease is caused mainly by poor oral hygiene.  Gum disease usually starts as an inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). Bacteria inside the mouth consume the leftover food particles in between teeth. When they accumulate, they secrete acids that contribute to the continuous degradation of the tooth enamel. When the enamel is already thin, the teeth becomes prone to penetration of bacteria. When bacteria reach the gums, they produce toxins that can attack the bones and ligaments in the surrounding teeth. Because of that, the gums become vulnerable to being inflamed and bleeding. And when left untreated, this inflammation can lead to gum disease.

Aside from that, various lifestyle practices such as frequent smoking and drinking alcohol can also contribute to gum disease. According to a study published in the journal Brazilian Oral Research, gum disease can also be genetic in origin as some people are more prone to severe gum disease than others more prone to gum disease than others. Fluctuation in hormones such as those occurring during menstruation and pregnancy can also make the gums more sensitive, hence it gets easier to be infected.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

        As alluded to earlier, gum disease can start as mere inflammation of the gums. In this stage, the gums become swollen and bleed easily because of the plaque along the tooth and gums causing the inflammation around the teeth.  Another noticeable symptom of gum disease is halitosis (bad breath) caused by the infection of bacteria. The sudden loosening and spacing between the teeth can also be an indication of gum disease. As the disease progresses, tooth loss can be more likely to occur.  

CAN GUM DISEASE BE FATAL?

        Gum disease can sometimes occur without any warning signs since the inflammation is formed within. It can be painless and people who have the infection are mostly unaware they have one unaware they have one.  But leaving your gum disease can be dangerous, even fatal. This is why it is critical to have a 24 hour dentist on hand if you are starting to experience problems.  In a study published in the Journal of Periodontology (2000), scientists found out that gum disease (periodontitis) is a risk for coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular ailments. One piece of evidence here is the presence of the oral bacteria Streptococcus sanguis that can induce the accumulation of platelets, leading to the formation of thrombus (blood clot in the blood vessels).

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

        Gum disease, during its early stages, can still be reversed through regular brushing after meals. Bacteria can build up easier when it isn’t regularly brushed or food particles are left in between teeth. Flossing can also help since your toothbrush cannot reach all the food trapped in between the teeth. Gum disease can also be prevented by consuming less sugary foods. Sugars are the main food of bacteria inside the mouth. Thus, reducing the consumption of sugar can also reduce the incidence of them producing acids that degrade the teeth.

           But when the plaque already hardened and is not removable through brushing alone, you can opt to have them removed by your dentist. Your dentist will simply scrape away the plaque and then polish to remove further stains. Another method is through root planning wherein the root (inner part) of the teeth is cleaned in order to get rid of the bacteria. However, if your gum disease is already severe, your dentist may already opt to extract your tooth to prevent further damage to other teeth.

Hence, the saying “your teeth are the heart of your smile” proves true because having a clean and comfortable mouth boosts not only your self-esteem  but your overall health as well. Therefore, you should not let gum disease ruin your ability to smile and live with confidence!

       

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