We Know: All About Gum Disease
What is gum disease?
In gum disease, inflammation in the gums may lead to more serious infections that damage the bone and soft tissues around teeth. Untreated infections inevitably lead to tooth loss. Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. Whether or not you get gum disease depends on how well you care for your teeth.
What causes gum disease?
Lots of bacteria reside in your mouth. Plaque forms when bacteria and saliva come together. You get rid of plaque when you floss and brush, and when you visit your dentist regularly to remove excess plaque below the gum line. Tartar is hardened plaque. Tartar causes gingivitis, a condition characterized by inflammation, swelling, and bleeding in the gums. Brushing and flossing reverses gingivitis.
Untreated gingivitis leads to periodontitis. In periodontitis, the inflammation stretches below the gum line and into the tissues surrounding the tooth. The gum begins to pull away and form deep infectious pockets called periodontal pockets. The infections spread and damage bone, ultimately ending in the removal of the tooth.
What are some of the risk factors for gum disease?
Gum disease is all about how well you take care of your teeth. Any habit that depresses the immune system puts you at risk for gum disease. Among some of the known risk factors are:
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
According to the National Institute of Health, gum disease appears in most people between the ages of 30 and 40, with men more likely to get the disease than women. How do you know if you've got gum disease? Check for the following clues:
How do you treat gum disease?
If you recognize any of the symptoms listed below, make an appointment to see your dentist. Most treatment methods involve controlling the infection and changing lifestyle habits to control the risks. Methods of treatment include:
How can you prevent gum disease?
Gum disease can best be prevented by maintaining a regular regimen of care. This includes brushing and flossing twice per day. You should schedule regular visits (at least twice per year) with your dental professional to get professional cleaning and plaque removal. Avoiding habits that encourage tartar growth also prevents the onslaught of gum disease.