Have you ever experienced:
- Bad breath that won’t go away?
- Red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums?
- Pain when chewing?
- Loose or sensitive teeth?
- Receding gums or teeth that appear longer?
If so, you may be at risk of having gum disease. This common ailment can be mild or severe, and if left untreated, can damage tooth, bone, soft tissue and may even cause you to lose your teeth. In fact, some studies have demonstrated a link between gum disease and your overall health. Those with gum disease were shown to be more likely to develop heart disease or uncontrolled blood sugar levels. It was even linked to women delivering babies that were preterm with low birth weights.
How do you get gum disease?
Your mouth is filled with bacteria, which can form plaque on teeth. By brushing and flossing, you can get rid of plaque. If not removed, it hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. Gum disease is then a likely outcome.
There are some factors that are considered to increase the likelihood of experiencing gum disease, such as smoking, hormonal changes in females, diabetes, certain diseases, medications that reduce saliva flow and your genetic makeup.
What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?
There are different types of gum disease. The most common is gingivitis or an inflammation of the gums. You might have gums that look red and bleed easily. It’s mild and easy to reverse with brushing, flossing and dental checkups. If left untreated, however, it will lead to periodontitis, which will cause gums to be pulled away from teeth. In these pockets, an infection can easily form that can break down connective tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place, resulting in a necessary extraction.
What can be done to help gum disease?
There are nonsurgical and surgical solutions. The nonsurgical solutions include a deep cleaning to get rid of spots on the teeth where germs can easily gather. Some medications or mouthwashes may be used in conjunction with a deep cleaning.
The surgical solutions include a surgery targeting the pockets formed when your gums pulled away from the teeth to make them fit more snugly, or grafts that can regenerate bone or tissue that has been lost to disease.