Overview | Stages | Causes | Symptoms | Risk factors | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention
We generally don’t pay attention to our oral health and hygiene. We eat everything that we shouldn’t, still don’t feel any need to brush our teeth after consuming. All these bad habits ruin our oral health. And when we suffer oral problems like cavities, plaque, tartar, gum diseases, etc. Then we start looking after it. Gum diseases are also one of such diseases which need attention as soon as possible.
What is known as gum disease?
Gum diseases are one of the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease
s can be described as soreness, swelling, or infection of the tissues which supports the teeth. Generally, gum diseases affect most people at some stage in their life. Some symptoms indicate gum diseases, which we will see further.
Stages of gum diseases: There are two main stages of gum diseases —
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease. It mainly affects the surface of the area or the area where gum and tooth meets. There is no effect on the deeper parts of gums, teeth or bones. And the best part is – gingivitis is reversible. Redness or swelling of the gums, bleeding of the gums, especially while brushing or food consumption; are the symptoms of gingivitis.
Just use soft bristles toothbrush as this will help you to get rid of problem-causing bacteria while being easy to your gums too.
- Periodontitis: The structure which helps to keep your teeth in place by surrounding and support them is called the periodontium. Gums protect the periodontium. Periodontitis is the inflammation of the periodontium caused by the bacteria present in plaque and our body’s immune response to them.
Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum diseases, which occurs if gingivitis is not treated. It affects the covering of the tooth root, the bone and the fibre that connects the tooth root to the bone.
Gum diseases can form spaces between the tooth root and the gum. These spaces are known as periodontal pockets. When bacteria starts residing in these spaces, they can cause even more damage to periodontal.
Symptoms of periodontitis are –
- Swallow gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums ( when the gums line shrinks below and make tooth looks longer)
- Loose teeth
- Tenderness while biting or consumption of food
- A bad taste in mouth etc.
Causes of gum diseases:
The cause of all gum diseases is dental plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colourless film over the teeth when we get up in the morning. If we don’t remove the deposited plaque every day, then it can stick to the gums and form tartar. Which further damage our oral health including gums and teeth. All the sugary and carbohydrate – rich food acts as a fuel for plaque. The easiest way to avoid plaque deposit is brush your teeth twice and floss for once, daily. Use of mouthwash will strong your oral health and can remove the left over bacteria too.
Other risk factors that can cause gum diseases are:
- Chewing tobacco prevent the healing of the gums
- Alcohol can damage the oral defence mechanism
- Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial attack.
- Hormonal changes in puberty, menopause and pregnancy are related with the rise in gingivitis. The blood vessels of the gums become more susceptible to the attack of bacteria, with the rise in hormones. At puberty, the majority of gingivitis are 70 – 90 %.
- Drugs consumption
- Crooked, rotated, overlapped etc. Damaged teeth are more likely to get bacteria and plaque, as they have more space to multiply bacteria and also hard to clean.
- Cancer and cancer treatment makes a person more likely to get infected, with the high risk of gum diseases.
- Mouth breathing can cause irritation and inflammation to the gums.
- Dehydration can increase the risk of plaque production.
- Lack of saliva production
- Lack of vitamin C diet can weaken the healing process of gums.
- Medications increase the risk of gum diseases.
- Lack of dental care
- Family history
Symptoms of gum diseases:
- Red, swallow gums
- Bright red or purple gums
- Bleeding gums
- Pus in between the teeth
- Loss of teeth
- Recession gums ( gums that have pulled away from the teeth)
- Chronic bad breath
- White spots or plaque deposit on the gums
- Spaces between the teeth
- Change in the way of partial denture fitting
Risk factors for gum diseases:
- Chewing tobacco
- Compromised immunity
- Crooked teeth
- Broken fillings
- Poorly fitted dental appliances
- Genetic factors
On the basis of your symptoms, your doctor can check for plaque and tartar. Checking for gingivitis and periodontitis are possible also. Further two methods can be adopted, either X- ray or periodontal probing. In periodontal probing, an instrument is used to measure the pocket depths around a tooth.
Treatment of gum diseases:
Gingivitis can be reversed if it is diagnosed at an early stage and followed by a proper treatment.
- Professional dental care – If there is a large deposit of plaque and tartar, then it can be removed with the help of scale. Scaling is an uncomfortable but required procedure to remove tartar. A regular follow–up will make the condition better.
- How to care at home –
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Don’t forget to floss and mouthwash daily.
- If possible, use an electric toothbrush. As it is better in the removal of plaque. If not, then make sure you brush your teeth from all sides.
Apart from it, deep cleaning, antibiotic medications, and surgery are some other treatment options.
- Use a brush with soft bristles and fluoride-based toothpaste.
- Don’t forget to brush before going to bed. As it is very important.
- Drink loads and loads of water
- Quit smoking, alcohol and drugs consumption
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
- Keep your sugar level under control
- Can consume green tea to decrease the inflammation of the gums
- Rinse with warm salt water may help to soothe sore mouth tissues
- Baking soda can be used to brush your teeth, as it is quite helpful to treat gum diseases.
- Oil pulling: Take 1 Tbsp. Of coconut, olive, sesame or mustard oil in your mouth. Swish it for 5 – 10 minutes and then spit it off on a paper towel.
- Visit your dentist regularly till the problem persists.