Gum disease is inflammation of your gums caused by bacteria thriving in the oral cavity. As identified by the Periodontal Organization there are different forms, but they all come down to ailing gums. Poor oral hygiene, particularly periodontitis, can contribute to a wide range of serious diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to stroke and even cancer.
What are symptoms?
- Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)
- Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
- Gums that are tender when touched
- Mouth sores
- Swollen gums
What causes gum disease?
Gingivitis can be due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits, meaning you may not have seen your dentist often enough for routine cleaning. Plaque buildup can also be due to excess sugar/carbs in your diet.
Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus, and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth decay. If you do not remove plaque, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen, and tender.
Injury to the gums from any cause, including overly vigorous brushing or flossing of the teeth, can cause gingivitis.
Many people have gingivitis to a varying degree. It usually develops during puberty or early adulthood due to hormonal changes and may persist or recur frequently, depending on the health of your teeth and gums.
When to see your dentist
At least twice a year for routine cleaning and as soon as possible once you note bleeding or swollen gums.
Your dentist’s goal is to reduce inflammation. The teeth are cleaned thoroughly by the dentist or dental hygienist. This may involve various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.
On your part, careful oral hygiene is necessary after professional tooth cleaning. The dentist or hygienist will show you how to brush and floss. Professional tooth cleaning in addition to brushing and flossing may be recommended twice per year or more frequently for severe cases. Antibacterial mouth rinses or other aids may be recommended in addition to frequent, careful, tooth brushing and flossing.
Repair of misaligned teeth or replacement of dental and orthodontic appliances may be recommended. Any other related illnesses or conditions should be treated.
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