We have all heard about gum disease, this atrocious condition that awaits all who don’t take preventive measures to protect their teeth or don’t practise good dental hygiene. This looming, mysterious disease affects a high number of people, generally adults over the age of 30.
Before we look at signs and symptoms of gum disease, let us first explain what it is.
The most common and mild form of gum disease is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. This is caused by an accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth that have not been removed by either regular brushing or dental cleanings. Tartar results from plaque that was not brushed off in time and has hardened, sticking to the teeth. It is a whitish, hard substance at the base of the teeth and can generally be removed only at the dentist. Plaque, on the other hand, is the sticky, bacteria and mucus filled fluid that sticks to the teeth. Regular brushing can generally get rid of plaque.
Gingivitis does not happen over night and is the result of prolonged period without brushing or visiting a dentist. It is generally reversible. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can turn into periodontitis, a more serious condition where the inflammation is around the tooth. The gum no longer surrounds the tooth tightly, leaving space for bacteria to get in and infect the area. Aside from being painful, the tooth may loosen or might need to be extracted.
So how do you know if you have signs or symptoms of gum disease? Here are a few tell-tale signs that it is time to consult:
- Your gums are red, swollen and tender
- Your gums bleed when you brush or floss
- Your gums are pulling away from your teeth
- Your teeth become loose or separated from one another
- You may have pus between your gums and your teeth
- You find that you have persistent bad breaths
- You have sores in your mouth
- Your dentures don’t fit as well as they used to
The tricky part with gum disease is that sometimes it progresses without pain, in which case the disease might be quite advanced before it gets treated. That is why it is important to know some of the risk factors, the first one being smoking. As smoking is optional, this gives you yet another good reason to quit. Another factor is associated with certain medical conditions like diabetes or AIDS that make your gums more sensitive.
Whatever your situation is, if you have any doubt that your gums are infected, being red and sensitive, consult your dentist pymble. Some medications may reduce your saliva production, which impacts the protection of your gum, making them more vulnerable. Hormonal changes such as those happening during pregnancy or menopause may leave your gums unprotected, at higher risk for gingivitis. Finally, in some cases, heredity plays a role in an individual’s potential to get gum disease.
Article Submitted By Community Writer