What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a dental condition that has a negative effect upon the gum tissues that surround our teeth. There are two main types of gum disease, Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
- Gingivitis is known as the mildest type of gum disease. If left untreated, it can cause the gums to become red and swollen. This effect can make gums very sensitive, and they will bleed easily. With Gingivitis, there is hardly any pain or discomfort. If caught in time, it can easily be reversed.
- Periodontitis is a much more complex form of gum disease. It is the result of untreated gingivitis. When plaque begins to spread and grow, it will start to form beneath the gum line. This can cause toxins produced by food bacteria to irritate the gums. These harmful toxins jump-start a chronic inflammatory response which causes the tissues and bones that help to support the teeth to become destroyed. Pockets are formed between the teeth and gums due to the separation of the gums from the teeth. These spaces can become infected over time and as the periodontitis disease progresses, the pockets become deeper while precious tissue and bone structures are destroyed. Eventually, if left untreated, the teeth will become loose and will need to be removed by a professional.
What is the Cause of Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by the bacteria that grow inside our mouth. Failure to practice good oral hygiene can lead to an abundance of harmful bacteria accumulating on our teeth and gums. This will later cause mucus and other particles to mix with the bacteria to form plaque. When plaque is not removed as it should be, tartar begins to form. And tartar can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
If plaque and tartar are left on our teeth for a long period of time, the bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums. This condition is also known as Gingivitis. And as we have already discussed, failure to reverse gingivitis in its early stages will eventually cause the development of Periodontitis.
Prevent Gum Disease
Practicing good oral hygiene at home is one of the best ways to prevent the onset of gum disease. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing as much as possible in between meals will help to keep your teeth healthy and your gums strong. You should also visit your local dentist regularly for checkups and to receive a professional cleaning.
Along with a good dental hygiene routine, you can also prevent gum disease by choosing not to smoke. Smoking cannot only increase your risk of developing gum disease, but it can also decrease your chances of having a successful treatment once the disease has been discovered.
Periodontal Disease affects millions of people all over the world. Even those of us who try to practice good oral hygiene can sometimes develop gingivitis. If caught early enough, gum disease can be treated and reversed. The best defence against gum disease is to brush and floss regularly and to make an appointment with your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. Your Cupertino dentist can help you take the necessary steps to prevent or reverse gum disease. Find out more about oral health and gum disease – ask a question today and I’ll reply by tomorrow.