Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease occurs when the tissues and bones that surround the teeth become infected. A condition known as gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is gum inflammation which is due to plaque build-up. As gingivitis worsens and infection sets in, periodontitis occurs in the second and final stage of gum disease. Periodontitis can lead to permanent damage of the teeth and surrounding tissue.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
The symptoms of gingivitis include red, tender and swollen gums. Brushing or flossing the teeth usually causes the gums to bleed easier than normal. When periodontitis occurs, the gums usually pull away from the teeth. Pockets may form as a result of the formation of space between the teeth and the gum line. The individual with periodontitis may notice pus around the gum line, loose teeth and bad breath. The alignment of the teeth may also be affected and this can create an improper bite. If an individual wears dentures, the dentures may no longer fit.
Causes of Gum Disease
The main cause of gum disease is plaque build-up. However, there are other contributing factors to gum disease. Diseases such as diabetes, HIV or cancer can contribute to gum disease. Other factors include poor oral hygiene, hormonal changes in women and family history. Certain medications such as Procardia, Dilantin and Adolat may cause gum disease. Smoking can also cause damage to the gums.
Prevention of Gum Disease
- The most important source of prevention is good oral hygiene. This prevents the build-up of plaque which leads to gum disease. The person should brush the teeth twice daily. This can be done in the morning and at bedtime. It is important to use toothpaste which contains fluoride. The teeth need to be flossed at least once a day. Along with daily dental care, the person needs to visit a dentist for teeth cleaning and dental checkups at least twice a year or more frequently if needed.
- If the individual smokes or uses chewing tobacco, he or she is at an increased risk of developing gum disease. Due to this risk, it is recommended that the individual stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Another way of preventing as well as treating gum disease is by eating a well-balanced and healthy diet. Good nutrition habits help the body’s immune system combat infections that may result due to gum disease. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E can help repair the tissue which has been damaged as a result of gum disease. Food sources of vitamin C include broccoli, citrus fruits and potatoes. Food sources of vitamin E include green leafy vegetables, nuts and vegetable oils.
- Gum disease may also occur as a result of grinding and clenching the teeth. If an individual is prone to grinding teeth, there are oral devices which can be used to prevent further damage to the teeth and gums.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a condition which may arise as a result of poor oral hygiene habits or other contributing factors. If an individual notices any of the symptoms listed above occurring, he or she should see a dentist for proper treatment of the gum disease. This is especially important if the gum disease has progressed to infection of the gums and periodontitis.
Bio: Richard is a writer who spends his time producing content about health, dentistry and eco living. He hopes your teeth and gums are in good condition, and welcomes a visit at @thefreshhealth.