Gum disease is the leading oral disease in the world; however, it is almost always preventable or treatable if it is detected in its early stages or through maintaining good oral hygiene. If you are suffering with gums that are red, swollen, and that tend to bleed when you brush them, it might be that you are suffering with gum disease. To prevent the effects of your gum disease from getting worse, book in for an appointment with your Dentist Luton who can help to restore the health and comfort your teeth and gums once had.
What is Periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease (more commonly known as gum disease), is an infection that is most commonly seen in adults. It is located in the tissues that are responsible for holding your teeth securely in their place. Periodontal disease is mostly caused by a lack of oral hygiene maintenance which in turn causes a sticky substance known as plaque to build up and harden on the surface of your teeth. In its early stages, periodontal disease is referred to as gingivitis and is characterised by the earlier signs of gum disease which include swollen, red gums which occasionally bleed and teeth that become sensitive when eating or even drinking water. In its later stages, gum disease is referred to as periodontitis and can result in more serious issues such as severely bad breath, which is also known as halitosis, receding gums, bone loss, and in worst case scenarios, complete tooth loss.
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth which accumulates due to poor oral hygiene and the build-up of food. This bacterium infects the tissue that surrounds your teeth causing inflammation of the gum surrounding them. When the bacteria remain on the teeth for a period of time, they begin to form a sticky film known as dental plaque which if not cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis, can harden and form tartar. Tartar build-up is able to spread below the gum line, making it difficult to clean your teeth properly, and it can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. If you feel as though you may have a build-up of tartar, contact your dentist or dental hygienist for an urgent hygiene appointment to remove any residue and to avoid further damage to your teeth and gums.
In addition to this, there are multiple risk factors that can increase your chances of developing periodontal disease. These include:
- Smoking – smoking has been found to weaken your immune system making it difficult to tackle any infections that occur in your gums. Smoking also affects your body’s ability to heal so once your gums are damaged it takes longer or becomes difficult to heal even after professional treatments have been carried out.
- Disease – Diseases or illnesses that make you immunocompromised such as cancer or HIV/AIDS can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease as your immune system becomes weak and is unable to fight even the slightest of infections that occur in your body
- Genetics – your genes control how your teeth develop and how well your enamel works against bacteria thereby increasing your risk of developing diseases and infections if you inherit poor genes
- Hormonal changes in women – periodontal disease can occur in women who are going through menopause and also women during pregnancy as their hormone levels fluctuate causing issues such as a decrease in saliva production and bone loss in the jaw.
Prevention and treatment
Almost all oral diseases are preventable, and, in most cases, the preventive methods are simple. Gingivitis can be avoided or even treated through good oral hygiene and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. In order to prevent and control periodontal disease, it is imperative that you have regular visits to the dentist who can identify any early signs or symptoms of the disease. Additionally, brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day will ensure that you remove the majority of the bacteria in your mouth that is responsible for causing periodontal disease. Avoiding foods and beverages that contain a high sugar content and staying away from tobacco and excessive alcohol use will subsequently keep your teeth intact and your gums and bone strong enough to support them. If you are in the more advanced stages of periodontal disease, then don’t despair as even the most severe cases of the disease can be treated using more extensive cleaning treatments or by taking medication. Sometimes, you may require corrective surgery or even an extraction when the disease has progressed too far, however this can easily be avoided by always keeping an eye out for any warning signs.