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What Causes Gum Disease? The Symptoms and Treatments That Work

June 13, 2021

Dental check-up

There is one part of our bodies that we must always take with utmost seriousness at all times, and that is none other than our mouth. You can find that it is almost impossible to conduct our day to day lives without the usage of our mouth, teeth, and tongue. Everything from eating a meal to conversing with other people, the mouth holds some of the most crucial aspects of life in a single small place.

We need to ensure that everything in our mouth is working well without any diseases or infections to prevent the possibility of tooth loss or gum disease. Although these diseases may not be that uncommon, they can lead to further complications like heart attacks, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases of inner organ, bowel cancer, respiratory tract inflammation & meningitis to name a few can escalate due to improper dental care.

One of the most common but also highly susceptible infections that a person can experience is gum diseases. You might find that this simple disease can be treated with a change in oral hygiene, but there are situations wherein the damage can even affect the flow of saliva in our mouths. You must see the signs that would lead to possible gum disease or tooth decay by entirely understanding this disease's concept.

 

Understanding Periodontitis 

Periodontitis, otherwise known as gum disease, can affect almost every person out there as long as bacteria and plaque grow to unprecedented levels that an infection may occur. You can find that your gums are some of the most crucial parts of your entire mouth. Unfortunately, most mainstream media would focus on dealing with stained teeth and how you can use a whitening toothpaste to make those discolourations go away but it doesn’t work as whitening products are not designed to change the colour of the plaque & tartar.

You need to conduct a healthy and consistent oral hygiene routine to prevent the spread of plaque and bacteria around your gums as much as on your tooth surface. It is essential to note that your gums which act as an anchor for the teeth can start seperating away from the teeth if the bacteria from the first layer of plaque also known as gingivitis is not cleared out with daily brushing & flossing which can form pockets making the tooth mobile.

There are plenty of common signs out there that can signify that you have an underlying gum disease forming around your mouth. You can find that regular dental check-ups can help spot these issues well before becoming a real problem. However, there are rare situations in which abnormal growth may arise due to poor diet or high blood pressure amongst other underlying health problems or medications you might be taking.

You should seek the help of some dental professionals if you are experiencing the following conditions:

  • Gums are unusually swollen and red.
  • Bleeding while brushing & flossing
  • Chewing becomes uncomfortable or painful
  • Increased space forming around your teeth
  • Release of pus between or around your gums and teeth.
  • Unusually consistent fowl breathe throughout the day (more so during the morning)

 

Should You Schedule a Dental Appointment

Dental check-up

Those suffering from periodontitis would need a dental examination and dental cleaning to ensure that there would be no traces of bacteria or plaque around the gums as much as possible. However, surgery and antibiotic medications may be prescribed by dental professionals to deal with a bacterial infection. You should first consult with your dentists about alternative solutions if the infection has not spread or evolved into something that needs immediate medical attention.

Dental treatment such as deep cleaning and surgical treatments are some of the possible risks of gum disease. Flap surgery can be done to those that needed more intense surgical care. Do note that in extreme cases, untreated gum disease may cause your jaw bone to suffer infections or sustain injuries due to the bacterial growth reaching further deep into your gums.

The goal of a dentist when it comes to conducting a successful treatment for gum disease symptoms would be to promote the gums back to a healthy condition and prevent further detachment around your teeth. There are situations in which the swollen and red gums can start to push your teeth in different places and need post-surgery medications or subsequent treatments to adjust.

 

Preventing Gum Disease

A professional cleaning procedure can go a long way in ensuring that your oral hygiene continues to remain healthy and strong.

  • Regular brushing, flossing & scrapping your tongue twice a day can significantly cut the disease progression, dental plaque and other risk factors by a substantial margin.
  • Use interdental brushes to get to those deep pockets to get rid of any food particles stuck in the deep pockets.
  • Take the necessary steps in ensuring proper oral hygiene standards alongside choosing the right food to eat.
  • Dissuade yourself from smoking tobacco as it can severely affect the gums by irritating & further inflaming them apart from damaging your lungs.
  • Keep a healthy diet that consists of plenty of vitamins and especially calcium intake during childhood to help form strong teeth.
  • Usage of an antibacterial mouthwash can not only fight against odor-causing bacteria, but you can also prevent a gum infection alongside proper plaque control.
  • Manage your stress and lifestyle as constant stress is a precursor for other diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, affecting one's chance of inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

 

Gingivitis or Periodontitis

The most common conditions of gum disease would stem from one to two types of inflammation. Both gingivitis and periodontitis are two diseases that most people suffer from which can lead to sensitive teeth and soft tissues problems. Although the initial impact of increased sensitivity and softness is not something most people would consider as a dental emergency. Gum inflammation is one of the most noteworthy warning signs that something is afoot. It would be best to spot the difference to understand the possible risks that these diseases can bring to your overall oral hygiene.

The best way to explain the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease where the gums become red, slightly inflamed with a little bit of bleeding while brushing. There is also a chance that your foul breath, especially during the mornings can be a common sign.

woman suffering from toothache

Periodontitis occurs when the soft first layer of bacteria is not brushed off properly and more bacterial layer forms on top of it which over time becomes like cement which cannot be brushed off by simply brushing. It accelerates the inflammation process of the gums pulling them away from the tooth, bone can be lost, teeth become mobile and eventually fall off. You would have to make an appointment with the Dental Hygienist to get it removed only with special dental instruments. Bone loss and the risk of gum surgery are some of the possible points of caution that you should be aware of. Genetic factors and health issues such as chronic conditions might speed up the accumulation of bacteria because regular brushing and cleaning would become insufficient. Dental exams will need to run to ensure that advanced gum disease can be prevented to keep your gums clean and away from fungal infections.

 

Effects of Periodontal Disease

Bone loss can start to form in adults that already have a high stage of gum tissue damage. The more your gum tissue starts to rot, the higher likelihood of you experiencing loss of teeth. Since food particles left behind on your mouth will begin to become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, an experience called gum recession would take place and cause you to have crooked teeth. Around the base of your gumline, a pocket may form that will serve as an open gap for bacteria and other food particles to reside deep within your jaw bone.

Periodontal pockets can reach the tooth root and cause it to form cavities and rots from the inside. Most dental professionals might require periodontitis to undergo emergency dental surgery, cut open the gumline, and reach the damaged bone. However, these cases are more reserved for those with advanced gum disease or aggressive periodontitis.

Bacterial deposits can also be treated with antibiotics and frequent regular check-ups from your dentists. Although a better oral hygiene routine may get the job done on those with less severe conditions and some light bleeding with foul breath are your main two enemies when dealing with gingivitis.

 

The Use of Fluoride to Prevent Gum Disease

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste if you are suffering from any gum disease specially from periodontitis. Fluoride effectively prevents and limit tooth decay which can progress to gum disease if not managed.

According to the Australian Dental Association, all Australians should have access to the benefits of fluoride. Moreover, water fluoridation is a safe, effective and ethical way to help reduce tooth decay which is supported and recognised by scientific bodies and public health groups in Australia. 

Here is the table for the recommended fluoride content in toothpaste from the Australian Dental Association: 

Age  Fluoride Content
Children 18 months to 5 years small pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 0.5–0.55 mg/g of fluoride (500–550 ppm).
Individuals aged six years or more standard fluoride toothpaste containing 1 - 1.5 mg/g fluoride (1000–1500 ppm).
Children who are at elevated risk of developing tooth decay standard toothpaste containing 1mg/g fluoride (1000ppm)
Teenagers, adults and older adults who are at elevated risk of developing tooth decay, dental professional advice should be sought to determine if they should use toothpaste containing a higher concentration of fluoride (i.e. greater than 1000-1500 ppm up to 5000 ppm of fluoride).

 

For more information, visit the Australian Dental Association.