Gum diseases and tooth loss go hand in hand. When we say gum disease, it does not mean irritation and bleeding for a short period, sometimes it can become serious leading to tooth loss.
It is very essential to identify a gum disease on its onset so that proper diagnosis can be done and the treatment pattern decided. The onset of a gum disease often takes place with a bacterial infection which irritates the gums, bones, ligaments and the teeth. The treatment is generally painless if the disease is detected at an earlier stage.
Regular visit to the dentist is essential so that any kind of dental problem can be identified long before the gums and teeth become spoiled leading to tooth loss.
Gum disease is also referred to as periodontal disease meaning around the tooth and can be classified as Gingivitis and Periodontitis. These are serious types of gum diseases and can affect a single tooth or a number of them.
It happens when the bacteria residing in the plaque causes inflammation of the gums. In simple terms, plaque is nothing but the sticky and colorless layer that develops on the teeth when not taken care of.
Some of the risk factors which can lead to gum diseases are:
- hormonal changes
- certain medications
- sometimes it can even be genetic
Gum diseases occur more often in individuals who are in their 30s or 40s. Studies show that men are more prone to suffer from these than women. Teenagers can also get gum diseases but generally they develop gingivitis only.
Some of the symptoms of gum diseases are:
- foul breath that does not disappear even after brushing or flossing
- swollen and red gums
- bleeding and tender gums
- pain while chewing
- teeth loss
- sensitivity and receding gums
Controlling the spread of the infection is the main goal of the treatment and varies according to the severity of the disease. Medications may help but sometimes surgery also becomes inevitable. The best ways to protect yourself from gum disease is by brushing twice daily, flossing, and periodic and routine visits to the dentist. It is also advisable you do not smoke.
Gingivitis is a very mild version of periodontal disease which makes the gums swollen, red and in some cases gum bleeding may occurs. This stage is however not painful and is caused due to poor oral hygiene. It can be treated if good care is taken and professional treatment is rendered.
Periodontitis is the advanced stage of untreated gingivitis. The plaque spreads to the area below the gum line and irritates the gums. The toxins thus produce fuel as an inflammatory response leading to the tearing of bones and tissues supporting the teeth. The gums move away from the teeth leading to infection. Finally, it can lead to loss of tooth also.
Prevention of periodontal disease requires the practice of good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily is the best way to do so.
Brushing should take up two minutes and flossing three minutes. It is preferrable to floss before brushing so that all the unwanted bacteria and food particles stuck in between the teeth can be removed.
One must also get their teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist every twelve months.
Adults generally lose their teeth due to periodontal disease. Periodontal diseases reduce the support for the tooth as the bones and gums are damaged. Loss of support initially loosens the teeth and then it is lost. If the infection persists then you may lose a number of your teeth. Lost teeth will have to be replaced by bridges, partial dentures, dental implants and full dentures.
In short, what actually happens is gum diseases "eat away" the bone from the jawbone. Initially the disease is painless but later it can lead to swelling, pain and loss of tooth.
Ineffective removal of plaque results in these conditions. The plaque is made up of harmful bacteria and it can destroy the gums and connective tissues.
Patients suffering from gum disease have increased number of bacteria comprising of Spirochetes, Intermedius, Fusobacterium nucleatum etc., they are anaerobic and gram-negative bacteria and can survive in the absence of oxygen. They harm the jaw and gum line in ways which cannot be reversed. Thus, special care must be taken to sustain a healthy oral environment.