All You Need To Know About Gum Disease
Do you suspect you are living with unhealthy gums? If yes, you are in the right place. Today in this post, we highlight the various types of gum disease as well as the signs and symptoms associated with gum disease, so you can make the best decision regarding your treatment options.
Gum disease is often called a silent disease because nearly 60% of gum disease patients don’t know they have it. What’s even more alarming is that 50% of Americans have gingivitis. In fact, gingivitis is the major cause of those dental appointments.
Unfortunately, the initial gingivitis symptoms are hard to spot, implying that most people may not know they have gum disease until their condition is at a highly advanced stage. This is quite unfortunate because gum disease has been associated with some serious health problems, including adverse pregnancy outcomes, osteoporosis, diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease. Below we explain the various types of gum disease, how to prevent them, and when your symptoms warrant a dental visit.
So, what causes gum disease?
Under normal circumstances, healthy gums should be pale pink, feature a firm, matte surface. What’s more, they should not bleed during regular brushing, flossing, or examination by a dentist. Generally, gum disease is triggered by poor oral hygiene.
When you fail to regularly brush and floss your teeth, bacteria will eventually thrive in your teeth. And if not removed on time, the bacteria will ultimately solidify and transform into plaque, or tartar. These two substances will result in inflammation in your gums, leading to gum disease.
So, what are the risk factors of gum disease?
- Tobacco chewing or smoking: Research has shown that smokers are two times more highly to develop gum disease compared to their non-smoking counterparts. And the longer and more you smoke, the higher your risk. What’s more, the available gum disease treatments may not be effective for gum disease triggered by smoking.
- Hormonal fluctuations: When there are significant changes in your hormonal levels, such as during menopause, puberty, or pregnancy, your risk of developing gingivitis will substantially increase. The increase in hormonal levels makes the blood vessels in your gums highly susceptible to germs and bacteria invasion.
- Nutritional deficiencies: Minerals such as calcium and magnesium play a significant role in the overall health of your teeth. Bleeding gums, the initial sign of gingivitis, can be caused by vitamin D deficiency. Vitamins, C, K, and A are equally vital to dental health. It is highly recommended that you eat a healthy diet that’s low on both sugar and carbohydrate to curb gum disease. The right use of supplements may also help prevent gingivitis and help minimize the effects once the condition has already developed.
- Cancer: Among nearly 25% of kids suffering from leukemia, gingivitis is usually the first symptom. Generally, having cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatment can increase your susceptibility to infection, boosting your risk of gum disease as a result.
Other potential risk factors include:
- Increased alcohol consumption.
- Diabetes. Stress.
- Poor saliva production.
- Mouth breathing.
- Certain drugs.
If you are exposed to any other of the above risks, it’s important that you schedule routine dental appointments for checkups.
So, what are the various types of gum disease?
This simply refers to the inflammation of the gums around your teeth. Over time, it progresses into periodontal disease, which occurs when the inflammation moves to the bone beneath your gums.
During the initial phase, gum disease is referred to as gingivitis. Usually caused by poor oral hygiene, gingivitis makes your gums swollen, sore, and red.
At first, you’ll only feel mild pain, implying that you may never realize you have it until the disease progresses even further. Bleeding gums are a tell-tale sign you are suffering from gingivitis. Other potential symptoms include consistently having bad breath as well as bad taste.
It is vital that you visit your local dentist immediately you spot the first gingivitis symptoms because if left unattended, this condition will quickly become full-blown periodontitis.
This is a serious dental disease. Your gums pull away from your teeth, forming deep cavernous pockets that collect bacteria. And if bacteria continue to gather and thrive, you will soon suffer chronic inflammation and infection.
And as it toughens and transforms into plaque and tartar, the bacteria will eventually find their way into the deeper gum tissue and bones. When this happens, your teeth will become very loose, requiring extractions!
Types of periodontitis:
When inflammation inside your teeth supportive tissues is left untreated, you’ll develop chronic periodontitis. It will result in progressively deeper gum pockets and bone loss. This is by far the most prevalent form of periodontitis.
Periodontitis caused by systematic diseases:
This often starts at a young age due to damage caused by chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes as well as respiratory disease.
Necrotizing periodontal disease:
This is a severe infection that causes partial death in your gums. And this necrosis can also impact the bones and ligaments in your jaw. Necrotizing periodontal disease is common among those with compromised immune systems, HIV, or suffering from malnutrition.
So, what are the treatment options for gum disease?
If left untreated, gum disease can potentially result in serious health problems, and this is why it’s important that you seek immediate assistance from your dentist. During your dental visit, your doctor will evaluate or measure your gum pockets. And these pockets will be compared against six different measurements for every tooth. The dentist will then put a probe between your teeth and gums to access the bottom of the pocket.
And if it is confirmed that you have gingivitis, you will be put under a strict dental hygiene routine accompanied by a prescription mouth rinse. And if your gum disease is deemed to be more severe, your dentist may perform a deep cleaning on the area below your gum line to safely eliminate plaque and debris from your gum pockets.
In fairly advanced situations, your dentist might have to perform surgery to help remove tartar beneath your gumlines as well as infections from the adjacent tissues. If there is significant damage, reconstructive surgery may be required to restore any corroded gums or bones!
If you are looking for a dentist, HPS Advanced Dental Care would love to see you. Dr. Heather is gladly accepting new patients.
We are located at 4741 24 Mile Rd. Shelby Township, MI 48316, and we can be reached at (248) 652-0024. We look forward to meeting you!