What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a more common dental problem than people think. It is a silent infection of the gums, which can form and develop without you noticing it. Some indications might be bleeding, red, swollen and sensitive gums. The bacteria plaque -a sticky film layer covering the teeth- is the main cause of the disease but the use of certain types of drugs, poor oral hygiene and hormonal imbalances especially during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may trigger and/or effect patient’s gums. If you have diabetes or undiagnosed diabetes, you may have a high risk of having a secondary degree or aggressive type of periodontitis. If you are a smoker, you are twice as much at risk of getting gum disease. Smoking will make you prone to getting the disease twice as much than a non-smoker and it will prolong the healing process.
Gum disease has several stages, the beginning stage of it is called gingivitis. At this stage, the disease is manageable with daily hygiene routines such as brushing, flossing, and adjusting the diet with healthier choices. Regular visits to your dentist not only will help you maintain the disease from advancing, but it will also help you detect it in its earliest stages too.
The second and advanced stage of the disease is called periodontitis. This stage of the disease can cause tissue loss and in later stages teeth, loss as the inflammation creates damage to the tissue between the root and the surrounding bone structure. It happens so that when the patient seeks for medical attention, the indications and pain are often confused with pain in the teeth but it may just be related to the stage of the disease. This advanced stage may develop slowly but it may worsen much rapidly.
Aggressive case of periodontitis
Aggressive periodontitis can develop rapidly apart from its usual development stages. While the disease is mostly seen among people between the ages of 30-35, this stage of the disease can affect children pre-puberty and young adults. Therefore, it is important to monitor children in families with a genetic history of periodontitis. Aggressive periodontitis can do so much damage to the bone structure that the patient may not be able to benefit from treatments like implants, dentures and alike.
How to protect the gums and teeth
Starting to monitor the general health of the gums and teeth in early ages, having regular check-ups, brushing and flossing the teeth daily, and adopting a healthy diet may prevent, even reverse the effects of gum disease and help keep possible losses caused by its advanced cases at a minimum with early detection and treatment.