Healthy gum with no gum disease

Gum Disease – Causes and Prevention

Gum disease is a very common disease found in the mouth.  If you ignore, it will become complicated, and ultimately you may lose the tooth.  But you can easily prevent and avoid it.

Gum disease is found mainly in adults.  Nearly half of the world’s adult population is affected. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Advanced Gum Disease is 11th most widespread disease in the world. It occurs equally in developing countries as well as in developed countries.

The early stage of the disease is called “gingivitis”. If you don’t treat gingivitis, it will become a Periodontal disease. Later it will turn into advanced gum disease.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is the common term used to describe any problem associated with the gum.

Healthy or normal gum is pink in colour and won’t bleed while brushing. People with gum disease may experience red, swollen gums that bleed when they brush their teeth.

Poor oral hygiene and plaque are the primary causes. The plaque accumulates in the gum margin and provides a growing medium for the bacteria. It also provides nutrients for the bacteria to thrive.

If you look at the plaque under an electron microscope, you will see millions of different types of bacteria. The bacteria live and feed on the plaque. If you don’t remove the plague, it will grow and produce toxins as the waste product. These toxins will irritate the gum and later progress to gum or periodontal disease.

Types of Gum disease

1. Gingivitis:

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. If you don’t remove the plaque around the gum margin, the toxins will irritate the gingiva or gum. When the toxins irritate the gum, it will start to swell. It will also become red and bleed when brushing your teeth or while eating. Most of the times it won’t be painful.

Plaque is the leading cause for the gingivitis. Some medical conditions can also cause gingivitis.

2. Periodontitis:

If the gingivitis is untreated, it will develop into periodontal disease. The unremoved plaque will become hard and form tartar or calculus. Initially, it will build just below the gum margin. Therefore, you won’t be able to see this.

If you don’t remove tartar, microorganisms will grow on it and produce more toxins. At the same time, more minerals will get deposited on the calculus, causing it to become larger. At this stage, you would be able to see a yellowish, hard substance near the gum or gingival margin. When the calculus becomes older, the colour will change to greenish black at the gingival margin.

If you still do not treat it at this stage, more and more microorganisms will grow on the tartar and produce more toxins. The toxins will irritate the bone which will be found underneath the gum. The bone will slowly start to dissolve, and the gum will also recede. Dental X rays can reveal how far your bone has resorbed.

3. Advanced Gum Disease:

Later there will be more bone loss, and the teeth will lose their support. The teeth will become loose and start to move. Later, you may get gum abscess or pus may seep through the gum. The teeth and gum will become painful. At this stage, it may be difficult to save. Most of the time the tooth has to be extracted.

Remember once you lose the bone and gum it won’t grow back to its original position, even after you remove the tartar. Prevention is better than cure. Visit your dentist regularly to remove the calculus and prevent the problem happening.

What are the causes of gum disease?

  1. Plaque – The most common cause is plaque around the teeth.
  2.  Smoking– Tobacco use in any form can irritate the gums causing gum infection.
  3.  Pregnancy– During pregnancy, a lot of hormonal changes happen within the body. Pregnant women may also experience nausea and vomiting which makes difficult them to do proper brushing. The lack of brushing can lead to gum problems.
  4.  Genetics– Some people are more prone to develop gum problems than others because of their genes.
  5.  Misaligned teeth– When teeth are not aligned straight, it is possible for food particles to settle in the gaps between overlapping portions of the teeth. These areas are extremely difficult to clean as the bristles of the toothbrush don’t reach there. Hence, they are more prone to have gum problems.
  6.  Medicines– If a person is taking medication for high blood pressure or epilepsy, they may have gum problems as these drugs can cause the swelling of gums as a side-effect.  Medical Conditions – Some medical conditions will cause periodontal disease, The most common one is diabetes.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

  1. –  Redness of gums
  2. –  Swelling of gums
  3. –  Bleeding while brushing teeth
  4. –  Calculus near the gum margin
  5.  – Loose teeth
  6. –  Gums have started pulling away from teeth (receding gums)
  7. –  Gums are peeling off from the teeth
  8. – Bad breath
  9. – Your front teeth move without any reason
  10. – Discharging pus from the gum
  11. – Bad taste in the mouth
  12. –  In most cases, it will NOT cause a lot of pain

Gum Disease Treatment

If you noticed any symptoms or signs which we mentioned above, please see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will find out the cause for your periodontal disease and treat accordingly.

Brush and floss twice a day regularly. Some people forget to brush and to compensate that they brush more on the following day. This doesn’t work. Once the calculus is formed, the brushing won’t remove it. Only dental professionals can remove tartar using unique dental instruments.

It is important to brush and floss every day. Additionally, regular visits to your dentist every six months for cleaning will prevent periodontal disease.

Gum disease treatment at home

There is a lot of advice on the internet about how to cure gum disease at home. Additionally, products are being sold, which claim to cure periodontal disease. These at-home products can not cure the condition permanently. These products will mask the condition and eliminate symptoms temporarily. Some products and solutions may be harmful to your health.

The only way is to cure gum disease is to remove the tartar. A dental professional will remove the tartar, find out the underlying cause and treat accordingly.

Dental professionals and gum specialists are specially trained to remove the calculus. They will do a very deep clean using special instruments.

How to keep gums and teeth healthy?

The best way to keep your gums and teeth in a healthy state is by following simple oral hygiene instructions. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste. Flossing once daily can prevent the plaque layer from forming in between the teeth.

Mouthwash will freshen your breath but won’t remove calculus. Additionally, overuse of mouthwash can stain teeth and cause different taste sensations in the mouth.

A balanced diet is essential for overall health, including oral health. Avoid acidic food and drinks and minimise intake of sweet food and drinks. The acidic food will make the teeth wear out. Sweets will make holes in the tooth.

Smoking can have serious side effects in the mouth, gum and teeth, so dentists recommend their patients avoid smoking.

Your gum may be unhealthy and inflamed, but it will appear healthy. Your dental professionals will be able to tell if your gums are healthy or problematic. Therefore, regular visits to the dentist are also essential.