Gum Disease Signs, Symptoms And Stages

A combination of signs and symptoms may be present, depending on what severity of gum disease you have. Typically the early signs of gingivitis involve minor irritation such as bleeding or swelling of your gums.

Bleeding

Healthy gums should not bleed. If you floss regularly and brush along the gum lines, bleeding is not normal. However, infrequent flossing may always result in your gums bleeding due to the development of gingivitis.

Swollen Red Gums

Gums that are red, puffy or swollen are a sign of infection. Just as if you had another area on your body that was infected, swelling and redness would occur, alerting you to the condition.

Bad Breath

A bad taste in your mouth or bad breath may be a sign that there is biofilm or food lodged deep under your gums.

Gum Recession

The loss of your gum attachment causes the gums to creep slowly down the root of the teeth.

Tooth Mobility

As gum and bone loss occurs, your tooth has less stability. This may cause your teeth to shift into other positions or make them mobile.

Sore Teeth

When limited support structures are all that is holding your teeth into place, the delicate ligaments around your teeth can become strained.

Pus

Clear, white or yellow pus may begin to drain between your teeth and along the gum lines.

Stages Of Gum Disease

Gum disease starts out as mild gingivitis and progresses to different levels of periodontitis or periodontal disease. While all stages are part of the same disease condition, knowing how to identify gum disease developing in your mouth can allow you to be proactive about the treatment earlier on.

Gingivitis

The beginning stage of gum disease manifests itself as gingivitis. This is when you notice your gums bleeding during flossing and may have swollen or red gums just near the borders. Because gingivitis is just the initial inflammation of gums, it can easily be reversed within about two weeks.

Early Periodontal Disease

When gingivitis goes untreated, your gums begin to break down around the teeth. Early symptoms will include persistent inflammation, bleeding, and bone loss seen on your dental X-rays. You may also start to see mild gum recession in some areas. Early periodontal disease starts out localized, but if left untreated becomes more generalized throughout the mouth.

Moderate Periodontal Disease

This more advanced stage of gum disease is easier to spot. If you haven’t dedicated a lot of preventive care to your teeth, or do not see your dentist regularly, it may have allowed your condition to worsen without you realizing it. By the time you have developed moderate periodontal disease, gum recession is evident and there may be signs of tooth mobility. You may also start to notice dark areas between the teeth, where the gums have faded away.

Advanced Periodontal Disease

The most severe form of gum disease is advanced periodontal disease. Once you have lost several millimeters of bone around the teeth, your teeth become mobile, show severe signs of recession, and may even fall out. Specialized professional care is needed to delay tooth loss.

As if having different severities of gum disease were not enough, there are also variations to further describe the classification of your gum disease:

 

  • Localized Gum Disease – Restricted to a limited number of teeth in the mouth without having spread to surrounding teeth. Abnormal areas of bone loss are present in up to a few areas.
  • Generalized Gum Disease– Affecting most of the teeth in the mouth with generalized loss of surrounding bone structure throughout the entire mouth.
  • Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis– An ulcerative condition that involves necrotic “punched out” tissue, combined with swelling of the lymph nodes.
  • Hyperplasia– Thickness of gums associated with causes such as trauma, medication or irritation.
  • Pregnancy Gingivitis– Some women experience hormonal imbalances during their pregnancy, which results in the inflammation and bleeding of their gum tissues. This is usually atypical of their normal oral health, and it subsides after the birth of their baby.

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Periodontitis Stages And Types

While periodontitis is a specific condition, there are various periodontitis classification categories that help identify the type of infection when being described among dental professionals. These classifications usually describe to what degree the infection has advanced, and how much of the mouth has been affected.

Mild Periodontitis/Early Periodontitis
This is the earliest form of periodontitis. Clinical findings show mild gum detachment with mild bleeding. There may be minimal bone loss evident on dental X-rays.

Moderate Periodontitis 
Moderate periodontitis exists when gum pockets measure between four and six millimeters in depth and there is clinical evidence of bone loss evident on the X-rays.

Severe Periodontitis
Severe periodontitis involves advanced bone loss with gum pockets deeper than six millimeters found during a dental examination. Bone has often receded so much that the furcation – division – of the back molar teeth are involved.

Chronic Periodontitis
This is the most common form of periodontitis. It is related to the amount of bacterial biofilm and calculus on the tooth surfaces.

Acute Periodontitis
Acute infections may affect only a localized area, but are often painful and quickly advanced. Acute infections may also involve periapical abscess – around the apex of the root – of the tooth due to the invasive condition.

Localized Periodontitis
When periodontitis is limited to just a few teeth in the mouth without having spread to other teeth it is considered localized. You can still have localized aggressive periodontitis, so being localized doesn’t simply mean it is minor.

Generalized Periodontitis
Generalized periodontitis affects several areas throughout the mouth. It may be a more mild form or can be generalized aggressive periodontitis.

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How To Prevent Gum Infections

Gum infections can be a sign that you are not effectively removing plaque and biofilm as efficiently as you thought you were. Even a small amount of plaque residue left along or under the gums and between the teeth can cause the onset of a gum infection.

The best way to prevent gum infections is to have exceptional oral hygiene practices. These include:

Cleaning Between Your Teeth

Be it with floss, a toothpick, or a water flosser, cleaning between your teeth is almost, if not, more important than brushing your teeth. The majority of gum diseases and infections originate between the teeth, where brushing does not reach. Be sure to clean the area at least once each day.

Brushing Effectively

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and angle the bristles toward your gums. Sweep the brush side to side in small motions, focusing on one or two teeth at a time. Be patient and spend at least two minutes during a single brushing, focusing at the gum lines.

Use Pure, Proven Ingredients

The best way to prevent infections is to kill the major cause – bad bacteria. A University of Kentucky study has shown three 100% pure ingredients kill the bacteria that lead to gum infection and other problems.

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How To Prevent Gingivitis

The good news is that gingivitis is very easy to prevent! Most of the time, gingivitis symptoms occur in areas that need more thorough oral hygiene. While you might think you’re already practicing great oral hygiene, you might want to review the following tips to ensure you’re cleaning your teeth as well as you actually think you are. Because the bacteria under the gums in gingivitis is anaerobic – meaning that it lives in the absence of oxygen – getting oxygen into the area literally destroys the bacteria and helps halt the infection.

Brushing

Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Many people use a medium to stiff bristled brush, but these can actually cause more harm than good. Too much pressure during brushing can cause gum recession and enamel abrasion, leaving large wedges in the roots of the teeth.

Consider an electric toothbrushHigh-quality electric brushes have soft bristles that are not only gentle on your teeth, but they also remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes, allowing you to clean your teeth and gums more efficiently. Many electric toothbrushes also create a foaming action that helps penetrate areas under the gums and between the teeth, flushing out some of the bacteria.

Reassess your brushing method. Angle your toothbrush bristles at 45 degrees toward the gumlines. Focus on just two teeth at a time, and make short sweeping strokes back and forth. Only apply as much pressure as you need to cause the gums to slightly blanch. Too much pressure or the wrong angulation will not target gumline plaque and could cause gum recession.

Use a pure, anti-bacteria toothpaste. Conventional toothpastes are filled with potentially harmful ingredients. Even “natural” toothpastes have abrasives and other additives. The best choice is to use a 100% pure botanical toothpaste that is proven to kill the bacteria that lead to gum problems like gingivitis, without any of the harsh chemicals.

Flossing

Check your flossing technique. Flossing should not be simply taking a piece of floss and sliding up and down between the teeth several times. This can cause gum damage and does not target the plaque biofilm under the gums. Instead, wrap your floss in a “C” shape against each tooth, sliding up and down two to three times under the gumlines. This method protects the gums as well as helps remove debris that collects along the gum margin.

Think about using a water flosser. Water flossers are able to remove plaque deeply below the gums, between the teeth, and under hard to reach areas such as bridges or rough restorations that you might have problems cleaning with normal floss. Water flossers are great for people with limited dexterity or simply don’t want to mess with floss in the first place. They are shown to reduce symptoms of gingivitis even more than some electric toothbrushes.

Lifestyle Choices

Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. Eating the right foods, staying active and taking nutritional supplements can help strengthen your cardiovascular and immune systems, making it easier for your body to fight any infectious conditions.

Avoid tobaccoIf you smoke, you are more likely to suffer from untreatable gum disease. Conditions like gingivitis may not be evident because the cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to atrophy, so you may never even be aware that you have a problem to begin with. Once the gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease it is nearly impossible to reverse unless you give up smoking.

Receive routine preventive care from your dentist. Having routine cleanings can remove any calcified bacterial deposits that would otherwise harbor conditions that encourage gingivitis. Your dentist can also identify any problem areas that may be susceptible to gingivitis, such as aging dental work or fillings with rough margins. If you have crowded teeth your dentist may recommend orthodontic therapy, which makes it easier to keep teeth clean and healthy.

Rinse with a pure mouthwash. When your mouth is trying to heal, it needs all the extra help it can get. Rinsing is one of the best ways to kill excess bacteria and help promote a healthy environment in your mouth. It’s best to rinse twice per day, after brushing and/or flossing. Be sure to swish and gargle thoroughly to help kill the bacteria in the entire mouth including the back of the tongue. It’s best to avoid alcohol-containing mouthwashes, because they can try out the mouth. A dry mouth is a breeding ground for bad bacteria, which cause gingivitis and other gum problems.

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Mapping A Path To Better Oral Health

Dentists aren’t the only people who influence how we take care of our teeth; our friends and family play a big role, too. That is the conclusion of Brenda Heaton, an assistant professor of health policy and health services research at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, who presented her research recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Boston.

Heaton specializes in social epidemiology with a focus on oral health. In 2008, she, along with other members of BU’s Center for Research to Evaluate & Eliminate Dental Disparities, began a new line of research, focused on understanding oral health and disease among residents in Boston public housing. The majority of the work to date has focused on whether or not “motivational interviewing” can influence how women care for their children’s diet and oral health – specifically, the impact on kids with dental caries – also known as tooth decay.

There is mounting evidence that one-on-one behavioral interventions, like motivational interviewing, may change short-term behavior, but the effects don’t last long. “We started to get a sense that there may be more influences that we need to acknowledge beyond just the individual,” says Heaton. She found that social networks – not Facebook and Twitter, but networks of friends, family, and acquaintances – may play an overlooked role in oral health care.

Some women Heaton interviewed “had been born and raised in the unit that they were living in, and were now raising their own child in that unit,” she says, “so we had grandmother, mother, and child in one unit.” Those close connections influenced how people behaved, and to make significant progress against diseases like tooth decay, Heaton had to tap into those networks herself.

That is not easy, but it is important, says Thomas Valente, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California and an expert in social networks in health care. People believe information more when it comes from someone they know or respect, and evidence suggests that people are more willing to trust people who are like them. All too often, says Valente, who was not involved in this study, health information is handed to a community by people on the outside, and it is less impactful. “It’s like West Side Story,” says Valente. “It’s like being a Shark and having a Jet come up to you and tell you to do something. It is just not going to happen.”

Oral Health Resources

Heaton wants to spread resources about good oral health, not only to combat tooth decay but also because oral health is intertwined with other health concerns. “Sugar-sweetened beverage [consumption is] something that we are very interested in, not only because it is a huge risk factor for oral health outcomes, but it is also a huge risk factor for obesity and other obesity-related health conditions,” she says.

To understand the connections that already existed within the community, Heaton needed to draw a social map. Since 2008, her team has interviewed close to 200 women living in Boston public housing and identified nearly 1,000 individuals who were influential. Heaton is using those network maps to find similarities about how information flows through these communities. The ultimate goal, she says, is to use the map to introduce health information and resources into a community in ways that change long-term behaviors.

“You can’t design those interventions until you actually have a really strong grasp of the network structure,” says Heaton. For instance, if you want to make an impact, should you look for community members with the most personal connections or for people with large influence but fewer personal ties? Should you take advantage of existing connections or seed new ones?

The power of this approach is that it focuses on prevention rather than cures, says Heaton. It might take a village, but tooth decay “is an entirely preventable health outcome.”

Signs And Symptoms Of Receding Gums

Receding gums can really sneak up on you if you are not careful. Typically gum recession is a very slow process that may not be noticeable at first, until you begin to see the roots of the teeth. Your dentist measures gum recession in millimeters and even two millimeters of attachment loss is significant. Here are some typical signs that you may be suffering from receded gums.

Sensitivity
When you have receded gums, a portion of the root is exposed to outside elements. They were not meant to be exposed and often respond with hypersensitivity. Even simple tooth brushing along the gum lines can cause an intense pain that feels as if the nerve has been exposed.

Sensitivity is due to the exposed pores on the root surfaces. These pores have nerve endings that extend from inside of the tooth to the outside of the tooth. When gums recede, stimulation can reach the pores and send jolting signals toward the nerve.

Exposed Root Surfaces
The portion of tooth anatomy that is under enamel is called dentin. Dentin appears yellow next to the white tooth enamel and is exposed when the gums recede. When you see this yellow area next to a defined white crown, you will know that recession has occurred.

Redness And Swelling
If your gum recession is related to gum disease or periodontitis, there will be some inflammation and swelling associated with the area of gum recession. When plaque biofilm, tartar and other bacteria thrive near and under the gum lines, the body’s natural response is to destroy the attachment of the gums in the area. This causes infection and receding gums.

Teeth That Appear Longer Than Normal
When gums recede, the root of the tooth is exposed between the dental crown and the gum lines. The result is the appearance of a long tooth. Only one tooth may appear long or your entire smile may seem to be made up of long teeth. This appearance is due to receded gums.

Spaces Between Teeth
The appearance of dark spaces between your teeth near the gum lines is due to the loss of the gum “papilla” between the teeth. As gums recede, this sharp point of gum tissue is lost, as it creeps away with the other supporting gum tissue. The result is dark spaces between the teeth that were formerly covered with gum tissue.

Food Packing
As the gums recede and cause spaces between the teeth to be exposed, food easily becomes packed and lodged in these areas. Typically you will find one or more particular spaces that food packs in the majority of the time. Naturally these areas should be covered by gums and prevent food from lodging in the space. When food packs in problem areas it tends to compound and cause a consistent area of irritation and infection when not completely removed. This leads to further gum recession.

Association With Gum Disease
Food packs between the teeth but especially in the gum pockets that are formed beneath the gum lines against the teeth. As gums recede it also causes less tissue to be attached to the root of the tooth. Gums with natural healthy pockets measure up to two or three millimeters deep. As gums become diseased and lose attachment, the pockets become deeper.

If you have gum recession that measures a significant five or six millimeters, it can be very serious because even with an area of no infection there will be an additional two to three millimeters of unattached gums within the pocket. If infection does exist, the pocket could be four millimeters or deeper. When combined with deep gum disease pockets, gum recession can be very serious and evidence of possible future tooth loss.

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Gum Disease Causes

Do you know what causes gum disease? In order to understand the factors that contribute to gum disease, it is important to first understand the anatomy of the tooth, and how the gums relate to it.

Tooth Anatomy
Each of your teeth is designed to have a natural, shallow gum pocket surrounding it. This area is called the sulcus – pocket – or if disease is present a periodontal pocket. At the base of this pocket lies connective tissue including ligaments and bone. These structures adhere to the tooth, holding it into the socket. A healthy pocket will be no deeper than three millimeters.

The Invasion Of Bacteria
Plaque biofilm is a byproduct naturally produced by our bodies. As we consume food, that food mixes with our saliva and breaks down into smaller particles. Biofilm then begins to develop and deposit itself onto the surfaces of teeth, and along the gum lines. Plaque biofilm enters into the gum pocket during chewing or by accumulation in the absence of good oral hygiene.

The Destruction Of Gum Attachment And Bone Structure
When plaque is not removed efficiently through careful flossing or brushing, your body’s own immune system begins to attack the bacteria. As the blood supply brings antibodies to attack the biofilm under your gum lines, it destroys the attached gum around the tooth in order to access the area of infection. As this attachment is lost it causes your gum pocket to deepen, destroying bone along with it. After a certain point these pockets become too deep for you to efficiently care for them through normal brushing and flossing.

Heightened Risk Factors
Certain risk factors and health conditions can also contribute to the development and severity of your gum disease.  Some of these risk factors may include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular disease

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Loose Teeth Causes, Signs And Symptoms

Loose teeth are the result of chronic gum disease, gum recession and bone loss. As plaque and bacteria invade the area around the teeth, it destroys the attachment between the teeth and the surrounding support structures. Once gum disease becomes active and remains untreated, teeth become mobile. If mobility is severe enough it ultimately results in loss of teeth.

Causes

What causes loose teeth? Loose teeth are caused by the presence of bacteria and periodontal disease under the gums around the teeth. As the disease worsens, the gum pockets deepen due to loss of attachment structure. The bacteria from gingivitis and gum disease cause the body to destroy bone and gum tissue around the teeth, which are meant to hold the teeth in place.

Signs And Symptoms

Loose teeth typically have other signs and symptoms associated with the condition. These include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Sore gums
  • Swollen, purple or red gums
  • Bleeding during brushing or flossing
  • Pus around the tooth
  • Food packing between the teeth or under the gums
  • Gum recession

Many of these symptoms accompany loose teeth and are typical of active, severe gum disease. It’s important to identify loose teeth as soon as possible so that treatment can be completed before it is too late.

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Gum Boil Treatments

Depending on what type of infection is causing your gum boil there are a variety of home remedies and professional treatments available.

Improved Oral Hygiene

Thorough removal of plaque through using electric toothbrushes, oral irrigation devices or flossing aids can reduce the levels of plaque biofilm in the mouth, decrease the rates of tooth decay, and reverse overgrowth of gum tissue. Using a pure botanical toothpaste and mouth rinse will kill the bad bacteria that lead to common gum problems. This will also create a clean and healthy environment in the mouth.

Essential Oil Application

In addition to improved oral hygiene, the use of essential oils for topical application as part of a mouth rinse can improve bacteria levels in the mouth and improve tissue health. Be sure to use pure botanical oils while brushing and rinsing in order to kill the bad bacteria that cause gum problems.

Periodontal Therapy

If active gum disease or periodontal disease is causing the gum boil, a deep cleaning can remove the active bacteria from your mouth. Full mouth deep cleanings typically cost several hundred dollars and require frequent maintenance visits to keep oral health in check.

Root Canal Therapy

Gum boils caused from dental abscesses require root canal therapy and complete removal of the bacteria and decayed enamel from the tooth. A root canal and crown seal the tooth off from further infection. Complete treatment costs are generally over one thousand dollars.

Surgical Removal Or Drainage

Chronic gum boils, which are uncomfortable or cosmetically displeasing, may require surgical intervention. Draining the boil or surgically removing it can sometimes correct the problem. There is a chance of the boil returning in some cases. Surgically draining the boil is relatively affordable, but invasive surgical needs may cost a few hundred dollars.

Denture Realigning

If the overgrowth of tissue is due to ill-fitting dentures, your denture may need to be realigned professionally to prevent friction or abnormal rubbing of the gums.

More Gum Boil Facts

Gum boils are typically not contagious. However, if the boil is present due to the presence of severe gum disease, it is possible to spread the disease bacteria through kissing or salivary transmission such as when sharing food.

Treating the gum boil through optimal oral hygiene practices should show some improvement or reversal in the area within two weeks. If the area does not improve or worsens after dedicated home hygiene you may need to see a professional for treatment.

Most gum boils usually do not hurt. If the boil is due to infection and is a dental abscess there may be pain present until root canal therapy can be performed. Depending on what type of infection is causing the gum boil, you may be able to heal it on your own at home. Dedicated oral hygiene that removes all plaque from the area on a routine basis may be all you need. If the boil persists you may need professional treatment.

Try the all-natural liquid toothpaste with a handcrafted blend of 100% pure cold pressed botanical almond, spearmint and carefully-aged peppermint oils. It naturally helps clean your teeth and gums by eliminating bacteria-causing germs and plaque while leaving you with fresh breath. Click here.

New Cavity Treatment Offers No Drilling, No Filling

A new clinical trial at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry is offering patients with cavities in between teeth a new, less painful treatment option.

The new treatment, called resin infiltration, is a way to treat small cavities in between teeth. Normally, the only way to access these cavities is by numbing a patient with a shot and drilling away tooth structure to access the cavity. Resin infiltration allows the dentist to slide a plastic perforated sheet between the teeth with the cavities.

“When we develop cavities between teeth, sometimes we have to go through the tooth, and we end up damaging healthy tooth structure,” said Augusto Robles, DDS, assistant professor and director of Operative Dentistry Curriculum. “This new system allows us to skip the drilling and helps us preserve that structure.”

The cavity is first cleaned by pushing a gel that prepares the surface to accept the resin infiltrant through the perforated sheet. The tooth is then filled by pushing a liquid resin through the perforated sheet. A dental curing light is then applied to the tooth to cure the resin, and the treatment is complete. There is no drilling necessary, and the procedure is typically completed without any anesthesia.

“Since this is a no-shot and no-drill treatment, it is popular with patients,” said Nathaniel Lawson, DMD, School of Dentistry Division Director of Biomaterials. “And since no tooth is removed, it is a very conservative procedure.”

The resin infiltration is one of a kind, and it is an FDA-approved, commercially available product made in Germany, but mostly is being used only in clinical trials in the United States. The UAB Clinical Research Center is conducting the largest U.S. clinical trial of this product, enrolling 150 patients in the study.

Both Robles and Lawson agree that this new system, if adopted nationally by practicing dentists, could be a game-changer for the future of dentistry.

“I never thought this would be possible for dentistry,” Robles said. “In my 24 years of practicing, this changes everything we’ve done so far. It’s marvelous.”

Although this new system helps restore teeth, there are a few prerequisites for patients looking to dodge the drill. This treatment works only in between teeth or on smooth surfaces where there are small cavities. Some cavities that are large or are on top of teeth are not suited for this kind of system because the liquid resin used cannot build up shapes.

“The resin has to be liquid to be able to be absorbed into the cavities in between teeth,” Robles said. “So at this point, the application is pretty specific.”

The UAB School of Dentistry continues to be at the forefront of innovation and patient care. It is clinical trials like this one that give dentists and researchers much to look forward to.

“I’m so proud to be a member of UAB, where I can be a part of a center that is testing new and innovative products,” Lawson said. “This is one of the most innovative products in dentistry I’ve seen in a while.”

How To Prevent Sore Gums

If sore gums are due to gingivitis and bacteria:

Brush the gum lines twice each day with your toothbrush angled 45 degrees toward the margin of the gums. Focus on two teeth at a time, making short strokes back and forth.

Apply just enough pressure to make the tissue blanch – no more, no less.

Floss daily by wrapping the floss tightly around each tooth and sliding up and down under the gums as far as it will go. This is usually two or three millimeters.

Have your teeth cleaned regularly at the dentist to prevent excess tartar buildup.

Consider using a mouth rinse after brushing to help eliminate any other bacteria, especially if you are prone to gum infections or have a history of gingivitis. Be sure to avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol, as it can actually contribute to more bacterial growth in the long run. This is due to the fact that alcohol can dry out the mouth, and a dry mouth is a preferred breeding ground for harmful oral bacteria. Instead, use a 100% pure botanical mouthwash that is proven to kill the harmful bacteria that cause gum problems.

Do you know the benefits of fluoride-free toothpaste?

Preventing other factors that can cause sore gums:

  • Clean oral appliances such as retainers and dentures daily.
  • Remove dentures or partials every night.
  • Have necessary dental treatment completed in a timely manner.

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Gingivitis Dangers And Progression

Gingivitis doesn’t just affect the appearance or discomfort of your gums, it can also greatly affect your entire body.

Links To Other Diseases And Conditions

Gingivitis, gum disease and periodontal disease are all caused by your body’s immune response to infection in the area. When your immune system is strained by infection, it also makes it difficult to fight other conditions that you may be suffering from. The more severe your gum infection is, the more likely you are to suffer from severe health problems. By treating or preventing gum infections like gingivitis, you can increase your body’s ability to recover from conditions such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Arterial plaque
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Premature labor
  • Obesity
  • Erectile dysfunction

Progression Into Periodontitis

Because the beginning stages of periodontitis (periodontal disease) evolve from gingivitis, it is extremely important to tackle your symptoms before they can cause irreversible problems. If gingivitis is allowed to persist and goes untreated, the area becomes so infected that destruction of gum attachment and bone levels occur around your teeth. This attachment loss starts out small, allowing food to pack under your gums as well as tartar to build up on the root of your teeth. Ultimately the infection becomes worse and worse until you reach the point where there is so much bone loss that your teeth become mobile and may possibly fall out.

Once you have lost teeth due to periodontal disease it makes everyday things like talking, chewing and swallowing more difficult to do. Even with tooth replacement options there is never anything quite like having your natural teeth, and you may have some problems adjusting. Bone loss from gum disease is irreversible, so it is important to prevent periodontitis by treating your gingivitis as soon as you begin to experience symptoms.

Try the all-natural liquid toothpaste with a handcrafted blend of 100% pure cold pressed botanical almond, spearmint and carefully-aged peppermint oils. It naturally helps clean your teeth and gums by eliminating bacteria-causing germs and plaque while leaving you with fresh breath. Click here.

Periodontitis Causes, Signs And Symptoms

 

What is periodontitis? Periodontitis is also known as periodontal disease or an advanced stage of gum disease. The meaning of the name describes the condition: perio = around; dont = tooth; itis = inflammation of. So periodontitis is the inflammation and infection of the area surrounding the root of the tooth. It is a severe condition that simply begins as gingivitis but ultimately leads to the destruction of gum attachment, bone and results in tooth loss if left untreated.

Causes

What causes periodontitis? Periodontitis is a natural immune response to bacteria along and underneath the gum lines around the teeth. When plaque biofilm is not removed effectively, antibodies from the immune system seek the bacteria out in order to destroy it. When initial symptoms of gingivitis are left untreated, the condition worsens into periodontitis. Simple swelling becomes an area of more advanced infection, causing the destruction of gum and bone attachment around the teeth.

Periodontitis may be due to:

  • Inadequate oral hygiene
  • Lack of professional preventive care (routine cleanings)
  • Susceptibility from conditions such as a family history of periodontitis, uncontrolled systemic health conditions or badly misaligned teeth.

Signs And Symptoms

Periodontitis is more than just gingivitis. Here are some warning signs to watch for if you suspect you may be developing the condition:

Bleeding Gums – Healthy gums should never bleed. Bleeding during brushing or flossing that persists for more than two weeks is a sign of gum infection such as periodontitis or more advanced gingivitis.

Bad Breath – The bacteria involved in periodontitis often contribute to halitosis, or breath malodor. Because the problem exists deep under the gums, mouth rinses, gums or mints do not easily cover it up.

Swollen, Red Gums – Gum lines become inflamed and red along the margins of the teeth when gum disease exists. Mild inflammation is typical of gingivitis, while more diffuse not concentrated or localized. Inflammation and redness (or even purple colored gums) is a sign of more advanced periodontitis.

Receded Gums – As periodontitis advances, the gums become detached from the teeth and creep down the surface of the roots, leaving exposed root surfaces. This makes teeth appear longer than normal.

Sore Teeth – Infection around the tooth may make chewing or applying pressure to the tooth uncomfortable.

Shifting Or Loose Teeth – When gum detachment or bone loss has occurred, it may cause the teeth to be mobile or shift out of their natural position.

Drainage Of Pus – During very advanced stages of periodontitis, there may be signs of pus that drains along the gum lines when the tooth or gums is depressed. Pus usually appears clear, white or yellow.

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What Teeth Reveal About The Lives Of Modern Humans

When anthropologists of the future find our fossilized teeth, what will they be able to conclude about our lives?

Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg has an idea. She is a professor of anthropology at The Ohio State University who studies fossilized teeth to answer questions about the life history, growth, and diet of primates and our human ancestors, as well as the relationships between different species.

In a new book, What Teeth Reveal About Human Evolution (Cambridge University Press, 2016), she gives a broad overview of what scientists have learned about our ancestors from studying fossilized teeth.

As for the teeth of humans living today – well, it is a good thing we have modern dentistry. “We have teeth that were adapted for eating a very different diet than the one we eat today, at least in Western societies,” Guatelli-Steinberg said.

In the book, she noted that 99 percent of humans’ evolutionary history was spent eating foods that were hunted or gathered. Our current diets of soft, processed and sugary foods are nothing like the diets for which our teeth are adapted. “Problems like cavities and plaque buildup have been magnified tremendously in humans today,” she said. “Natural selection has not prepared us well for the kinds of food we eat today.”

In addition to having much higher rates of cavities and plaque, modern humans are much more likely to have misaligned teeth that require orthodontic treatment or surgery. “Soft diets do not stimulate jaw growth, and teeth, especially our third molars (wisdom teeth), become impacted,” she said. In fact, third molar impaction became 10 times more common after the Industrial Revolution than it was previously.

Researchers like Guatelli-Steinberg learn a lot about early humans and our ancestors through an examination of teeth. One reason that teeth provide so much information is simply that they are available. Teeth are the most preserved skeletal remains found in fossils. They are small and very mineralized, making them resistant to decomposition and able to maintain their original qualities, she said. Teeth also contain a record of a lot of aspects of their own development, including their chemistry and pathology.

“Teeth give us insights into a variety of aspects of evolution,” she said. For example, researchers study the structure of teeth – like bumps and grooves – to see how species are related to one another. Also, since the scale of dental development is related to overall development in most animals, researchers can use teeth to determine how long it took individuals of different species to grow to adulthood.

On the other end of life, researchers can study the amount of wear on fossilized teeth to get a very rough estimate of how old an adult was when he or she died. And, of course, there is much to learn about diets. Microscopic wear on the chewing surfaces of teeth can suggest what kind of food an individual ate. “Different kinds of food can require different ways of bringing the teeth together. As that happens, the food will mark the teeth in different ways, depending on their properties,” she said.

The chemical composition of the teeth themselves is revealing. Scientists can identify the stable isotopes and trace elements in fossilized teeth to determine an individual’s diet. Much of Guatelli-Steinberg’s own research has focused on using patterns of tooth growth to assess what life was like for the individuals under study. “Tooth growth is disrupted in periods of severe physical stress, such as illness or starvation, so teeth can be a window to challenges that our ancestors faced,” she said.

Other Findings

In a 2004 study, Guatelli-Steinberg and colleagues used a scanning electron microscope to compare fossilized teeth of Neanderthals with those of modern Inuits, or Eskimos. The researchers were looking for tiny defects – horizontal lines and grooves in tooth enamel – that suggest the individuals were experiencing stress. The results showed that Neanderthals did not have lives that were dramatically more difficult than those of the modern Eskimos – a finding that challenged traditional thinking at the time.

More recently, Guatelli-Steinberg has used a relatively new method of studying fossilized teeth to examine growth increments. The technique pioneered by anthropologist Tanya Smith, called X-ray synchrotron microtomography, uses a specialized imaging machine to see inside teeth without having to cut them up.

This allows researchers to create virtual sections of fossil teeth to see periods of growth, or when growth was interrupted, in increments as short as just a few days, she said.

Regardless of what new techniques are developed to study teeth, Guatelli-Steinberg said she expects future anthropologists will “likely have a field day” studying modern human teeth. “In various cultures today, we have people who notch teeth, inlay them with jewels or gold, lengthen them, file them down and remove them altogether,” she said. “One can only imagine what anthropologists will make of all the things we do to our teeth today.”

STUDY: Natural Tooth Repair Method Could Revolutionize Dental Treatments

 

A new method of stimulating the renewal of living stem cells in tooth pulp using an Alzheimer’s drug has been discovered by a team of researchers at King’s College London.

Following trauma or an infection, the inner, soft pulp of a tooth can become exposed and infected. In order to protect the tooth from infection, a thin band of dentine is naturally produced and this seals the tooth pulp, but it is insufficient to effectively repair large cavities.

Currently dentists use human-made cements or fillings, such as calcium and silicon-based products, to treat these larger cavities and fill holes in teeth. This cement remains in the tooth and fails to disintegrate, meaning that the normal mineral level of the tooth is never completely restored.

However, in a paper published in Scientific Reports, scientists from the Dental Institute at King’s College London have proven a way to stimulate the stem cells contained in the pulp of the tooth and generate new dentine – the mineralized material that protects the tooth – in large cavities, potentially reducing the need for fillings or cements.

The novel, biological approach could see teeth use their natural ability to repair large cavities rather than using cements or fillings, which are prone to infections and often need replacing a number of times. Indeed when fillings fail or infection occurs, dentists have to remove and fill an area that is larger than what is affected, and after multiple treatments the tooth may eventually need to be extracted.

A More Natural Solution

As this new method encourages natural tooth repair, it could eliminate all of these issues, providing a more natural solution for patients.

Significantly, one of the small molecules used by the team to stimulate the renewal of the stem cells included Tideglusib, which has previously been used in clinical trials to treat neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. This presents a real opportunity to fast-track the treatment into practice.

Using biodegradable collagen sponges to deliver the treatment, the team applied low doses of small molecule glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) to the tooth. They found that the sponge degraded over time and that new dentine replaced it, leading to complete, natural repair. Collagen sponges are commercially-available and clinically-approved, again adding to the potential of the treatment’s swift pick-up and use in dental clinics.

Lead author of the study, Professor Paul Sharpe from King’s College London said: “The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine. In addition, using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics.”