When we talk about oral health, we tend to only think about teeth and methods to protect them from cavities and decays. It is necessary to consider the health of your gums as well. Gums should be kept clean from plaque and tartar accumulation. Unhealthy and unmaintained gums become inflamed, sore and swollen. This causes gum diseases. Symptoms of gum diseases are:
- Formation of pus-filled pockets in the gums.
- Sensitivity in teeth and gums for no reason.
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing.
- Persistent mouth odor and bad taste in the mouth.
- Lengthening of teeth due to shrinking gums.
- Changes in your bite, shifting or loosening of teeth.
- Swollen, red and sore gums.
Gums affect the overall health of the body. Oral bacteria that thrive in diseased gums escape into the bloodstream and damage major organs. Gum diseases are often associated with high risk of developing heart diseases, diabetes, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and premature birth. Also, some gum disease-causing bacteria build esophageal tumors that might cause cancer. Gum diseases may be caused due to the following reasons:
- Forceful and vigorous brushing and flossing tear the soft gum tissues and make them bleed. Bacteria may enter the gums through these wounds and cause abscess formation.
- Development of canker sores in the gums leads to gum diseases. These sores harbor bacteria and viruses that make the gums sore and make them bleed.
- Certain medical procedures and medication involve extremely strong chemicals that cause swollen, painful and bleeding gums. This also leads to the development of sores and ulcers.
- Tobacco deteriorates the gums extensively. It causes sores, sensitivity, and bleeding of gums.
- Hormonal imbalance during menstruation, menopause, and pregnancy increases the blood flow in gums and make them red, painful, sensitive and swollen.
Types of Gum Diseases
A constant build up of plaque and tartar at your gumline causes gingivitis. It causes irritation, swelling, and soreness in gums. Your gums might also bleed while brushing and flossing. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is easily cured by maintaining good oral hygiene.
Gingivitis if left untreated develops into a serious form of gum disease known as Periodontitis. Bacteria thriving in plaque and tartar deposits seep into gums and release toxic substances that infect the gums. Pus pockets are formed near the tooth root. This damage to the gums forces them to recede and make them weaker. Slowly and gradually the gum tissues disconnect from the teeth and the infection destroys the underlying bone structure. Eventually, you might end up losing single or multiple teeth.
Treatment of Gum Diseases
X-rays are used to determine the presence of gum disease. Depending on the extent of degeneration, treatment will be provided.
A dental hygienist will clean your teeth to remove plaque and tartar buildups. Your teeth are polished and disinfected with fluoride to remove bacteria. Gingival pockets near the gumline are cleared of the abscess and bacterium.
If you have gingivitis, professional cleaning along with good oral health regimen is enough to provide good results.
Surgical treatment is required to treat periodontitis. After cleaning your teeth, your periodontist uses a periodontal probe to assess the depth of periodontal pockets. An incision is made to lift the gums to access the pus-filled pockets. The surface of the roots is cleaned around the furcations and the gums are sutured back.
If your gums have receded extensively, gum grafting is performed. Gum tissue from a healthy area in your mouth will be transplanted to repair the recession in the target site.
Prevention of Gum Diseases
Maintaining the health of your gums will improve your overall health. Below are a few tips that help your gums stay healthy and wholesome.
- Brush and Floss regularly to remove any trace of plaque or tartar.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash to ward off bacteria and infections that lead to gum diseases.
- Follow a balanced diet rich in vitamin C and calcium to reduce the risk of getting gum diseases.
- Drink water frequently to wash off food deposits from your mouth. This will reduce the risk of developing plaque.
- Get your teeth professionally cleaned by a hygienist to remove plaque and tartar deposits. A hygienist is able to reach the locations that are hard for the brush and floss to access.
- Quit smoking.
For further queries, visit Nickles Dental or book an appointment with us at (864) 244-3211.