Periodontal disease, often known as gum disease, is a common and potentially dangerous disorder that affects the tissues supporting the teeth and the gums. It is brought on by bacterial growth in the mouth and frequently starts with the development of plaque, a bacterial film that sticks to the teeth.
There are two main stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis: This is the early stage of gum disease and is characterized by inflammation of the gums. It is usually caused by poor oral hygiene practices that lead to the buildup of plaque. Symptoms of gingivitis may include red, swollen, or tender gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing, and bad breath. At this stage, the damage can be reversed with proper dental care and professional cleaning.
Periodontitis: If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis, which is a more severe form of gum disease. In periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected. As the disease advances, the bone and connective tissues supporting the teeth can be damaged, leading to tooth loss. Additionally, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and potentially contribute
Symptoms of Gum Disease
The symptoms of gum disease can vary depending on the stage of the condition. Here are the common symptoms associated with gingivitis and periodontitis:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily, especially during brushing or flossing
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Receding gums, making the teeth appear longer
- Formation of small pockets between the teeth and gums
Periodontitis symptoms (in addition to gingivitis symptoms):
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together when biting
- Changes in the position of teeth or gaps forming between them
- Pain or sensitivity when chewing
- Changes in the fit of partial dentures
It’s important to note that in some cases, gum disease can progress without causing noticeable symptoms, especially in its early stages. Regular dental check-ups are crucial for early detection and timely treatment. Dentists and dental hygienists can identify signs of gum disease during routine examinations and help address the issue before it worsens.
If you notice any of the above symptoms or have concerns about your oral health, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a thorough evaluation and appropriate care. Early detection and intervention can prevent further damage and improve the chances of successful treatment.
Treating Gum Disease
In most cases, tooth plaque buildup is what causes gingivitis. Inadequate dental hygiene is only one of several potential contributing variables, which also include:
- Certain drugs, including oral or injectable birth control, phenytoin, cyclosporine, calcium channel blockers, and others (these drugs can induce gingivitis or exacerbate it by encouraging an overgrowth of gum tissue and making plaque difficult to remove)
- severe vitamin C deficiency (uncommon in the United States)
- Leukaemia hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause and pregnancy
- exposure to heavy metals like nickel, which is present in some jewellery, and bismuth, which is present in some cosmetics
Some gum infections that result in gingivitis are unrelated to plaque accumulation. These consist of:
impacted teeth or teeth that don’t fully emerge (if this occurs, the flap of gum over the tooth might trap waste and produce gingivitis) some viral or fungal diseases, such as thrush
Is it possible to fully reverse gum disease and regain your oral health? “Yes,” but there’s a catch, is the reply. The only stage of gum disease that can be reversed is the “gingivitis” stage. It is no longer possible to totally eradicate it after it enters the second stage (periodontitis).
What kills gum bacteria?
Antibiotics. Antibiotics can be used topically or orally to treat bacterial infections. Topical antibiotics might take the form of antibiotic mouthwashes or injecting antibiotic gel into gum pockets. To eliminate microorganisms that cause illnesses, oral antibiotics may occasionally be required.
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