All You Need to Know About Gum Disease
The gingiva or gums is an important oral structure that holds and protects teeth. Periodontal disease or gum disease results from damage to the gum. Unlike cavities that present with intense pain and discomfort or misalignment that comes with evident signs, gum disease has an insidious onset and stealthy presentation. In its most treatable form, the periodontal disease goes unnoticed. Unfortunately, diagnosis is often made during the advanced stages when irreversible damage has already set in.
Symptoms to watch out for
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. In this stage, the plaque forms around the teeth and may cause gum recession. Gingivitis often presents with bleeding during brushing. The next stage is periodontitis, where bacteria invade the gums and the deep structures around the teeth. Patients often complain of loose teeth and sore gums. Tooth loss is a possible presentation. Among adults, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Other symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, bad taste in the mouth and misalignment.
Causes of Gum Disease
The primary cause of gum disease is plaque, however other factors can contribute to the development of periodontal disease.
• Illnesses such as HIV or cancer can weaken the immune system and leave the gum vulnerable to infection. Also, elevated blood sugar levels from diabetes delay healing within tissues contributing to the progression of gum disease.
• Medication with oral side effects are culprits in the development of periodontitis. Anti-convulsants and anti-angina drugs cause abnormal growth of gum tissue while other drugs reduce the flow of saliva in the oral cavity promoting gum disease.
• Poor oral hygiene makes it easier for gingivitis to develop. Failure to floss or brush teeth daily allows bacterial growth and subsequent damage
• Bad habits like smoking also delay tissue repair and promote gum disease.
How to prevent Gum Disease
Prevention of gum disease is achieved by practising proper plaque control. Daily brushing and flossing are the simplest and most effective ways to handle plaque and guarantee a life free of gum disease. Brushing removes debris from teeth surfaces while flossing clears plaque from areas the toothbrush cannot reach. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Antibacterial mouthwashes also reduce the bacterial load in the oral cavity and minimize the chances of developing gum disease. Despite brushing and flossing, some plaque will still develop, so ensure you schedule a professional cleaning at least twice a year.
Management of Gum Disease
The key goals in the management of gum disease are to reduce the risk of infection; reduce swelling, restore damaged structures and curb the progression of the disease. The stage of the disease, response and health status determine the treatment options available to a patient. Non-surgical therapies target bacterial growth while surgical options aim to restore supportive tissues. When it comes to the management of gum disease, seek advice from one of the experienced dentist in Maroubra, and they will have all the information needed to maintain healthy gums.