gum disease (5)

Dental Health For A Bright Smile

Having a healthy mouth is very important. It benefits your physical and mental health, as well as your smile. Fortunately, it is quite easy to maintain a healthy mouth. All you need to do is to stick to healthy dental hygiene.

Dental care extends beyond our smile. It needs to extend to your gums as well. Gum disease is a serious, progressive, and common dental health issue. Because gum disease tends to be pain-free in the beginning, most people are not even aware they have it. 

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease), is a progressive dental disease caused by plaque and bacteria. The disease of left untreated will destroy your teeth and gums and damage the bones of the jaws.

In its earliest stages (gingivitis), gum disease will present as swollen and reddish gums along with bleeding upon brushing and flossing. Gingivitis is reversible with proper care, the next stage is not. As the disease progresses further, it leads to increased destruction and is called periodontitis..

Periodontitis leads to gum tissue recession, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss.

Gum Disease Prevention Tips

Maintain  A Good Oral Hygiene Regimen

Brush at least two times a day. Try to get in the habit, when possible, to brush after every meal. It is important to brush your tongue as well because it can harbor harmful bacteria. You should choose a soft-bristled brush to gently brush the oral tissues. You should also floss at least once per day to reach areas your toothbrush alone cannot reach.

Use Fluoride

Use a fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth. Fluoride is the most significant toothpaste ingredient. Fluoride helps strengthen the tooth's enamel.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is extremely harmful to your oral health. Smoking will help the development of periodontalndisease by weakening your immune system. Smoking can also lead to oral cancer.

 

Avoid Sugary Food And Drink

Avoid sugary foods and drinks. Sugar is the food that allows the harmful bacteria to wreak havoc on your dental health.

Maintain Regular Dental Visits

Regular dental examinations and professional cleanings are vital to the health of your smile. Your dentist can detect any issues before they become an extensive problem and can also monitor how you are maintaining your smile at home

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What to Know About Periodontitis

Gum disease, often known as periodontitis, is a dangerous inflammation of the gums. It's brought on by bacteria that have accumulated on your teeth and gums. Your bones and teeth may be harmed as periodontitis advances. The damage can be stopped if periodontitis is treated early and adequate oral hygiene is maintained.

Stages of Periodontitis

Inflammation (gingivitis)

Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, is the first sign of periodontitis. When you brush or floss your teeth, your gums may bleed. This is one of the early indicators of gingivitis.

Your teeth may also show signs of discoloration. This is referred to as plaque. Plaque is a bacterial and food debris deposit on your teeth. Bacteria are always present in your mouth, but they only become hazardous when certain conditions allow them to multiply rapidly. If you don't brush, floss, or receive dental cleanings on a regular basis, this could happen.

Early periodontal disease

Your gums recede, or pull away, from your teeth in the early stages of periodontitis, and small pockets form between your gums and teeth. Bacteria can be found in these pockets. As your immune system fights the infection, your gum tissue begins to retreat. Brushing and flossing will almost certainly result in bleeding, as well as possible bone loss.

Moderate periodontal disease

If you let moderate periodontal disease advance, you may feel bleeding, pain, and gum recession around your teeth. Your teeth will begin to loosen and lose bone support. An inflammatory response may occur throughout your body as a result of the infection.

Advanced periodontal disease

The connective tissue that supports your teeth in place begins to disintegrate as the condition progresses. Your gums, bones, and other supporting tissue are all destroyed. You may have significant discomfort while chewing, severe bad breath, and a foul taste in your mouth if you have advanced periodontitis. It's very likely that you'll lose your teeth.

Symptoms of Periodontitis

Symptoms vary depending on the stage of the disease, however, they typically include:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or floss.
  •  Bad breath.
  • Changes in the position of your teeth or loose teeth.
  • Receding gums.
  • Red, tender, or swollen gums.
  • Buildup of plaque or tartar on your teeth.
  • Pain when chewing.
  • Tooth loss.
  • Foul taste in your mouth.
  • Inflammatory response throughout your body.

In the early stages of periodontitis, the symptoms are generally subtle. Your dentist will almost certainly be the first to notice them.

Periodontitis Diagnosis 

During a routine dental examination, your periodontist will be able to spot early signs of periodontitis. They can keep track of your periodontal health over time to ensure it doesn't deteriorate. This is why it's critical to have your teeth checked by a dentist on a regular basis.

To measure any pockets on your gums, your dentist may use a probe, which is a small ruler. Typically, this exam is painless. If plaque, tartar, or both are found on your teeth during a professional cleaning, your dentist will remove them. They may also take dental X-rays or refer you to a periodontist, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease.

Periodontitis Treatment 

Oral hygiene practices

Your dental care team will provide you information on how to maintain your teeth and gums clean in order to limit the quantity of bacteria in your mouth. Your dentist will instruct you on how to properly use toothbrushes and dental floss, as well as other oral hygiene items such as a water pick or mouthwash.

Here are some suggestions for keeping your teeth in good shape:

  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Consider replacing your toothbrush with an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective.
  • Plaque can be removed by flossing at least once a day.
  • Visit your dentist for a professional cleaning at least twice a year.
  • Avoid Tobacco in any form. 

Professional cleanings

During a professional cleaning, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and their roots, polish them, and fluoridate them. To allow for healing, any periodontal pockets that have formed may require extensive cleaning. Scaling and root planing is a deep-cleaning technique that scrapes off tartar and removes any rough places on the tooth root where bacteria like to congregate.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics may be prescribed by your dentist in some circumstances to aid with persistent gum infections that haven't responded to cleanings. The antibiotic could come in the form of a mouthwash, gel, tablet, or capsule that you take orally.

Surgery

If irritation develops in areas that are difficult to reach with brushing and flossing, your dentist may offer flap surgery to remove deposits under your gums. Your gums are lifted and the roots of your teeth are cleaned while you are sedated. After that, your gums are sutured (sewn) back in place.

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Gum disease is inflammation of the gums that occurs because of an increased number of bacteria in the oral cavity. This condition affects many people all over the world, with approximately 50% of adults experiencing gingivitis during their life. However, there seem to be many misconceptions about gum disease. To help you stay on the safe side, we have gathered these six debunked myths about gum disease that you shouldn't believe in.

1. Gum disease is uncommon

Many people think that gum disease affects only smokers or old people. But as mentioned above, up to 50 percent of adults can develop gum disease throughout their lives. Tsi means that every second person has an increased likelihood of gum disease. You should also know that this condition can affect children as well. This is because kids usually neglect proper oral hygiene and this can result in bacteria overgrowth. 

2. Gum bleeding is normal

One of the most common misconceptions about the gums is that gum bleeding that occurs during tooth brushing or on its own is normal and doesn’t indicate any issues. But the reality is that gum bleeding is considered one of the most common signs of gingivitis (the initial stage of gum disease). You should know that timely and correct gingivitis treatment can help cope with gum disease and prevent the development of severe complications. 

3. Gum disease always causes severe symptoms

Even though inflamed gums are usually bleeding, red, and swollen, initial gum disease can develop asymptomatically for some time. In this case, only a dentist can notice signs of early gum disease. Additionally, some people may have asymptomatic apical periodontitis (AAP). This condition is a bacterial infection of the root canal system that causes persistent inflammation and destruction of the apical periodontium.

4. Gum disease can be left untreated

Some people believe that gum disease is a minor infection and it can be left untreated without any consequences. But the truth is that untreated gum disease can’t disappear on its own but it can cause tooth loss. This is because the infection destroys gums that hold your teeth in place. If you develop advanced gum disease, your teeth may lose their support and fall out. Additionally, you may develop bone loss that can complicate the installation of dental implants. 

5. Gum disease affects only teeth and gums

Indeed, gum disease usually causes obvious signs in the oral cavity. But it doesn’t mean that this condition doesn't affect your overall health. The point is that gum disease promotes the spread of bacteria throughout your body. That’s why people with gum disease are more likely to develop respiratory infections, stroke, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, gum disease increases your risk of diabetes and diabetes also promotes the development of gum disease. 

6. Gum disease always leads to tooth loss

If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, it doesn't always mean that you will lose your teeth soon. As mentioned above, only severe gum disease that wasn’t treated in time can lead to tooth loss. So if you have noticed early signs of gingivitis (gum redness, swelling, bleeding, bad breath, and receding gums), it is better to contact a periodontist as soon as possible. A doctor can recommend the most effective treatment plan to save your teeth and gums. 

The bottom line

It is essential to understand that gum disease is a quite serious infection that affects many people. Timely and proper treatment can help ease its symptoms and prevent the development of severe complications. If you already have gum disease, you should contact a periodontist to define the best treatment options. 

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Sometimes, even if you follow thorough dental hygiene, you still may be at risk of developing gum disease, a severe gum infection that can potentially damage your jawbone if untreated. If gum disease persists for a long time, it can develop into a more serious periodontal disease. Learning more about its different culprits can help you prevent the onset of this condition and start immediate treatment when necessary. 

Keep on reading to discover some of the causes of gum disease that go beyond dental hygiene. 

1. Genetics
Gum disease can be hereditary. You can be more vulnerable to this mouth bacterial infection due to your family health history. If you suspect you’re genetically predisposed, meticulous dental hygiene should be your main priority. 

2. Aggressive bacteria
Many people get virulent bacteria that are more harmful to their gum lines and jawbones that support their teeth. Such bacteria can result in bleeding gums, jawbone deterioration, and shifting teeth, without you even experiencing a characteristic pain. If you have this kind of gum disease, consult a periodontist ASAP because hygiene alone is inefficient. 

3. Medications
A wide range of medications can trigger swelling or bleeding in your gums. Certain medications can decrease the amount of saliva in your mouth, allowing bacteria to spread quicker. If you’re using liquid medicines, antacids, and cough drops that are laced with sugar, practicing good dental hygiene is even more important.   

4. Smoking
When it comes to your dental health, it’s not just cigarettes that are a problem. Any type of tobacco product, including electronic cigarettes, chewing tobacco, vape, and snus, can increase your risk of developing gum disease by 20% to 30%. Tobacco use hampers the natural tissue healing process in your mouth and makes it more susceptible to bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, periodontitis (advanced gum disease) is more common in men (57%) than in women (39%) and even more so in those who smoke (65%). 

5. Pregnancy and hormone fluctuations
Expectant mothers and women on their periods should follow thorough dental hygiene. That’s because hormonal changes that occur during these processes can make your gum line more susceptible to oral bacteria. Persistent gum disease in pregnant women can lead to complications like preterm birth and low birth weight. 

6. Malnutrition
If your gums are pouring blood, it can be a sign of gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. However, bleeding gums can also signal nutritional deficiencies. For example, low levels of vitamin C in the bloodstream are linked to increased gum leading, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Try eating more healthy foods like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peppers to resolve this problem. Unhealthy eating, in general, can impact your body’s immune system. 

7. Age
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 64 million middle-aged Americans are affected by some form of gum disease. Your risk for gum disease and other health problems becomes higher as you age. The risk for periodontitis, the most severe stage of gum disease, increases to nearly 80% in people over 65, reports the American Academy of Periodontology.

8. Overall health issues
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis are the three major systemic diseases that can lead to inflammation and worsen the condition of your gums. According to various studies conducted over the last 30 years, gum disease is commonly linked to an increase in those types of diseases. That’s because mouth bacteria can spread to other parts of your body through small wounds and openings in your gums and other oral tissues. 

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Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is an infection of the gum tissues in your mouth. The primary cause of periodontal disease is poor dental hygiene that causes the buildup of a hard, sticky film of bacteria on the teeth called plaque. In advanced stages, this can lead to painful chewing problems, bleeding gums, and even tooth loss.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an inflammatory condition of the gum and periodontal tissue surrounding the teeth. The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which means inflammation of gums. 

Other than poor dental hygiene and tartar buildup, factors such as tobacco use, certain medications, clenching or grinding of your teeth, and genetics can also play an important role in developing gum disease.

Types of Gum Disease

There are mainly two stages or types of gum disease. 

Gingivitis - The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, and it often goes undetected. If diagnosed at this stage, the condition is usually reversible.

Periodontitis - When gingivitis is left untreated, it leads to the next stage of gum disease called periodontitis. In this stage, the patient experiences chronic gum inflammation and loss of bone and tissue in the infected area of the mouth, ultimately leading to tooth loss.

Causes of Gum Disease

The primary cause of gum disease is plaque and tartar, which is formed when bacteria in our mouth react with mucus and food debris. Plaque is sticky, and when not removed by regular brushing and flossing, they can harden and form tartar on the teeth. Tartar cannot be cleaned by brushing, and you will have to visit a professional dental hygienist to remove it. 

Risk factors for gum disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Diabetes
  • Certain illnesses like AIDS and their medications 
  • Genetics
  • The use of medicines that restrict the flow of saliva in our mouth 
  • Cavities that irritate your gums 

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Some of the main symptoms of gum disease are:

  • Persistent bad breath 
  • Red, swollen, and receding gums
  • Bleeding of gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • Teeth sensitivity

Treatment and Prevention of Gum Disease

The treatment for periodontal disease largely depends on the type of disease. Some of the treatment options are:

  • Plaque and calculus removal by your dental hygienist.
  • Frequent cleanings and use of prescribed medications like chlorhexidine gluconate mouth rinse help kill bacteria in your mouth.
  • In some cases, surgery may be required to stop the progression of gum disease. If the disease has progressed to an advanced stage, surgery will help to replace the bone that was lost due to the disease.

The best way to prevent gum disease and tooth decay is to practice proper brushing and flossing regularly. It is also essential to visit your dentist for plaque and calculus removal and to maintain good oral health. If you are concerned about your gum health, call our dentist in Des Moines today and schedule an appointment with us. 
 

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