Periodontal (gum) diseases are becoming rampant and have affected over 85% of world population. Gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal diseases is triggered by the bacterial biofilm commonly known as dental plaque that accumulates on adjacent teeth to gingiva gums. The pathogenic microorganisms in the biofilm are typically caused by poor brushing, genetic and environmental factors especially tobacco use, and inadequate flossing habits that allow plaque to build up and harden. In advanced stages, such conditions can lead to soreness and bleeding gums, pain during chewing, and loss of teeth.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Human mouths are characterized by a daily accumulation of bacteria. These bacteria combine with mucus and other particles to form a plaque ‘sticky colorless substance’ on teeth. Proper brushing and adequate flossing help get rid of this plaque. When the plaque is not properly cleaned, it hardens with time and forms tartar that general brushing can’t remove. It can be removed through professional cleaning by a dental hygienist or dentist. Smoking is one of the risk factors for gum diseases. Subsequently, smoking can make gum disease treatment less effective. Other risk factors include hormonal changes in women, diabetes, medicines that reduce the flow of saliva, and genetic predisposition
Gingivitis and Periodontitis symptoms include:
• Bad breath that refuses to go away no matter how thorough you brush
• Tender gums that easily bleed
• Red gums that are normally swollen
• Increased teeth sensitivity
• Receding teeth
• Loose of teeth
On visiting a dentist, he or she examines your gums and take note of any abnormalities. The dentist then measures any pockets around the teeth. The process should be painless in a healthy mouth with a pocket depth of between 1 and 3 millimeters. The specialist then asks questions pertaining to your medical history to identify underlining risk factors. The dentist may take an x-ray to check whether there is any bone loss and refer you to a periodontist for specialized treatment.
Gum diseases treatment focuses on controlling the infection. The severity of the gum condition dictates the type of treatment. However, all types of treatment to maintain a good oral daily care at home. The dentist may suggest quitting smoking among other behaviors in order to improve treatment effectiveness.
• Brush your teeth after every meal or at least twice every day.
• Floss daily to help remove plaque between teeth.
• Avoid smoking.
• Visit a dentist regularly for specialized cleaning and check-up.
You don’t have to lose your teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a healthy diet and visit your dentist regularly for a lifetime of healthy smiles.