Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Good Oral hygiene
Practising proper dental hygiene at home and visiting your dentist regularly can significantly boost your oral health and reduce your risk of several dental health issues.
As you already know, poor oral health can eventually affect your overall health. Inadequate brushing and flossing can increase the growth of harmful oral bacteria and lead to bacterial infection.
Dental plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, should be removed from your teeth regularly. Plaque buildup can lead to several dental health issues like persistent bad breath (halitosis), tooth decay, dental caries, gum disease, or tooth loss, and it can also put your general health at risk.
Pure Dentistry is not here to provide medical advice but to clarify how maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check-up can easily prevent several oral health issues like gingivitis and periodontitis (Gum Disease).
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Fortunately, you can prevent gum disease from progressing if you are familiar with the warning signs of the early stages of periodontal disease.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
- tender and sensitive gums
- swollen or bleeding gums
- bad breath
- gums that look red or dark (healthy gums look pink or a darker shade of pink)
Symptoms of Periodontitis
As mentioned before, periodontitis is an advanced stage of periodontal disease and occurs if gingivitis is left untreated.
Here are the most common symptoms:
- swollen gums
- loose teeth
- receding gums
- bad taste in the mouth
- tooth loss (in severe cases)
- pain while biting or chewing something
- recurrent tooth abscesses
Causes of Gum Disease
What Causes Gingivitis?
Poor oral hygiene leads to dental plaque accumulation on the teeth and along the gum line and bacterial growth in the mouth. This will result in an infection that can lead to gum disease.
What Is Dental Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky thin film of bacteria that needs to be removed from the surface of your teeth and gums with regular and proper brushing and flossing.
Dental plaque forms on your teeth when oral bacteria mix with the sugary or starchy foods you eat. Bacteria in plaque produce acids that can destroy your tooth enamel.
Plaque starts to form on our teeth about twenty minutes after we eat or drink something, especially sugary stuff.
Plaque Buildup Results
If plaque remains on your teeth, it can grow under your gums and on your tooth roots, causing damage and destruction to your teeth supporting bones.
If you do not brush away dental plaque, it will harden into a hard deposit called tartar or dental calculus.
Tartar can cause tooth discolouration, bad smell in the mouth, and tooth sensitivity. Tartar will make dental hygiene very difficult because your gums have become sensitive now, and tooth brushing can lead to soreness or bleeding.
In this situation, most people avoid cleaning their teeth and gums, leading to more plaque buildup and causing gingivitis.
Removing Plaque and Tartar
Removing dental plaque is not a complex task and can be done by proper brushing and flossing at home. However, you cannot remove tartar by simple brushing because tartar is firmly attached to your teeth.
Scaling removes tartar which needs to be done by a professional dental hygienist in a dental clinic.
People with plaque and tartar buildup will have an increased risk of developing gingivitis.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease or periodontal disease is an infection and inflammation of the tissues surrounding teeth, referred to as gingiva or gums.
Gingivitis is the early form of gum disease and is associated with redness and inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis can also cause bleeding gums, especially while brushing or flossing teeth.
Untreated gingivitis can lead to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is a gum infection that requires serious oral care because it can damage the soft tissue.
Periodontitis must be addressed urgently because it can seriously damage or destroy teeth’ supporting bones.
Risk Factors for Gingivitis and Periodontitis
While gum disease may occur to anyone at some point in life, some risk factors increase a person’s risk of developing gingivitis.
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor nutrition, for instance, vitamin C deficiency.
- Genetic factors (family history)
- Hormonal change due to pregnancy or taking oral contraceptives
- Age (older people are more susceptible)
- Taking certain medications such as drugs for high blood pressure, calcium channel blockers, angina, and chemotherapy drugs
- Certain health conditions that affect the immune system, such as diabetes, leukemia, or HIV/AIDS
- Having crooked teeth that make teeth cleaning difficult for the person
What do you know about the relationship between high blood sugar and gum disease? Here’s a good article regarding the issue: Diabetes and gum disease
How To Prevent Gum Disease
Generally, proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits are effective in preventing gingivitis.
Following these easy dental health tips can help you prevent gingivitis:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.
- Make sure you change your toothbrush every three months to ensure it is doing its job well.
- Floss your teeth daily to remove food particles stuck between your teeth and under the gum line. You can use interdental brushes for that purpose.
- According to the American Dental Association, everyone should visit their dentist or paediatric dentist every six months to ensure dental health.
- Quit smoking; smoking can decrease your immune system, making it hard for your body to fight infections and diseases.
- According to the Australian Dental Association, rinsing your mouth with therapeutic mouth rinses can help with plaque control.
How To Treat Gingivitis
Without urgent treatment, gingivitis will progress to advanced stages of gum disease, where tooth loss and bone loss will occur.
Dentists will treat the early stages of gum disease with non-surgical procedures like scaling and root planing. The dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to get rid of gum infections.
Scaling and root planing, also known as “deep cleaning”, allow the dentist to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. The root surfaces will then be smoothed to encourage the gum tissue to reattach to the teeth. The procedure will also prevent further plaque buildup.
If gingivitis progresses, non-surgical procedures may no longer be viable treatment options. Surgical procedures like flap surgery, soft tissue graft, bone grafting, and guided tissue regeneration. Gum Disease