Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and tissues supporting your teeth. 75% of adults have some form of gum disease and are most often caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar when your teeth are not maintained with sufficient frequency. Both types are: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis affects only the gums. It is a mild form of periodontal disease and may be cured well if treated in time. Left untreated, it becomes ‘’periodontitis”. That’s a more advanced and destructive stage when bacterias enter deep into gingival pockets and can lead to tooth loss and other related health problems.

When the bacteria present in plaque comes in contact with sugars contained in the foods you eat they form toxins. These can irritate your gums which causes swelling and bleeding when they are brushed. Over time, plaque hardens and forms tartar which can cause even more irritation to your gums and they begin to pull away from the teeth.

Here are some factors affecting the health of your gums:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication that causes dry mouth
  • Low pH (acidic mouth)
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Heart or respiratory disease, osteoporosis or family history

Pay special attention if you notice these following symptoms:

  • teeth move or split
  • you cannot squeeze your teeth in the same way
  • partial dentures are not fitting anymore
  • recurrent redness, swelling, tenderness, edema of the gums
  • bleeding gums while brushing teeth or flossing
  • gums recede from teeth, giving them the appearance of being longer (you can see part of the root of your teeth)
  • persistent bad breath
  • pus coming out of the gums

Treatment Options for Gum Disease

The most important goals of treatment of gum disease are to help the gums reattach to the teeth, reduce the risk of infection, reduce swelling, and stop the progression of the disease. Treatment options are based on the severity and stage of gum disease, how your body responded to treatments earlier, and the state of your health. Options include nonsurgical therapy to control the growth of bacteria to surgical procedures that restore the supportive tissues.

Can You Prevent Gum Disease?

In most cases, gum disease can be reverted when plaque is controlled. Controlling plaque includes professional cleanings and regular brushing and flossing. Brushing helps eliminate plaque and keep it from building up on the surface of your teeth, flossing helps to remove food particles between the teeth so they do not contribute to plaque buildup between the teeth or under the gum. Antibacterial mouthwashes can help reduce bacteria that lead to plaque buildup and gum disease.

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