Gum disease isn’t something that only happens to older people. Teens can get it too. Gum disease, also known as periodontal (pronounced: pair-ee-oh-DON-tul) disease, can cause problems from bad breath to pain and tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is inflammation of the gums. Gums are part of the mouth’s soft tissue. They surround and support the teeth and, when healthy, look pink and firm. Untreated gum disease can become very serious, causing teeth to become loose or fall out.
Did you know that gum disease if left untreated can cause gum recession, tooth loss, and can also be linked to heart disease as well as diabetes?
Some habits or factors can increase your risk of a periodontal disease:
● Smoking and substance abuse
● High levels of stress
● HIV and other chronic health problems
● Puberty or hormonal instability
● Diabetes and poor diet
The Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis: The early stage of gum disease brought on by poor oral hygiene is gingivitis. It may not show any signs at all or it may make your gums swell, turn red, or bleed when you brush or floss.it.
Following gingivitis, periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease. When plaque penetrates beyond the gum line, it releases chemicals that cause a little amount of inflammation. Gum recession and widening gaps around the teeth are two apparent symptoms.
Advanced Periodontitis: At this stage, the aforementioned symptoms worsen – teeth loosen further, bone loss continues and your gums swell as well. You may develop temperature sensitivity too.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
Symptoms of gum disease can include:
- Swollen or puffy gums.
- Bright red, dark red or dark purple gums.
- Gums that feel tender when touched.
- Gums that bleed easily.
- A toothbrush that looks pink after brushing your teeth.
- Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth.
- Bad breath that won’t go away.
- Pus between your teeth and gums.
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth.
- Painful chewing.
- New spaces that develop between your teeth that look like black triangles.
- Gums that pull away from your teeth, making your teeth look longer than usual, called receding gums.
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
If plaque has hardened into tartar, and is below your gumline, you would need professional cleaning. Ideally your oral care expert would advise scaling and root planing (SRP). You can think of it as a deep clean procedure for your teeth, which helps fight the gum disease.
However, If the gum disease has been left neglected for some time, you might need other treatments to remove the damaged tissue or help reverse bone loss. In extreme cases, surgical or restorative interventions are a must.
The first step however is to get a thorough annual periodontal assessment and diagnosis. ‘The right person to help with this is a periodontist – a dentist who specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and also treating gum disease.
GUM DISEASE PREVENTION TIPS
Flossing is one of the most important things people can do to prevent gum disease. It is important to take the floss all the way down along the line of the tooth to remove any plaque from between the area of the tooth and actual gum. Most people make the mistake of stopping where the gum line begins. The lower portion of the tooth can trap plaque and cause tartar build-up as well. Thus, cleaning it out on a daily basis is necessary for true gum disease prevention.
For anyone who does not like to use traditional floss, floss picks can be used and these are a convenient tool that can be held in the hand and easily moved in between the tooth and gum.Some people even carry a flossing pick with them so that it can be used for lunches and snacks.
#2. AVOID DANGEROUS FOODS
Some foods and drinks are bad for oral health and that includes being bad for the gums. Stay away from sugar, candy, processed foods and anything acidic. These foods can have negative implications when it comes to oral health.
#3. USE A SOFT TOOTHBRUSH
When a toothbrush is too hard or abrasive, it can actually damage the gums and cause them to recede. Gum tissue is incredibly sensitive so using a hard toothbrush on a daily basis can cause the gums to inflame, bleed and begin to recede from the tooth structure. This can also increase the likelihood of gum disease forming.
#4 BRUSH FOR TWO MINUTES
Patients need to brush teeth for a full two minutes at a time, twice per day. Patients need to complete this routine every day for life.
#5. AVOID TOBACCO USE OR EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL USE
It is also important not to drink alcohol in excess, smoke or chew tobacco. These things can be bad for health overall but are particularly dangerous for oral health.
They are particularly useful because they have anti-inflammatory properties and help to reverse gum diseases. Sources of omega-3s include pistachios, macadamia nuts and sesame seeds. They also serve as excellent sources of nutrients too.
Vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens your gums and the soft tissue in your mouth.
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