Gum disease is not something we often think about but it is definitely a subject we should educate ourselves on. Our mouths build plaque on our teeth daily because of bacteria and food particles that stay on our teeth. If this plaque is not removed, it hardens and becomes tartar. Regular brushing cannot remove tartar. Tartar build up on our teeth is very harmful and can only be removed by visiting your dentist regularly. Anyone can get gum disease so it is especially important to take care of your teeth not only so you can have them for life but also to prevent gum disease.
Gingivitis And Periodontitis
Gingivitis is one of the first signs of gum disease. The plaque and tartar on your teeth can cause an inflammation of the gums. This can be noticed when the gums become red and swollen or the gums bleed easily perhaps when brushing and/or flossing. Gingivitis is considered a mild form of gum disease and in this stage can be reversed by brushing properly and always flossing.
Periodontitis is advanced gingivitis which actually means inflammation around the tooth. At this point, the gums have already pulled away from the teeth and pockets have formed and have become infected. Our bodys natural immune system will fight the bacteria but the plaque will now have access to the teeth below the gum line. When this happens, the bacterial toxins and our bodys reaction to the infection start to break down the bone and tissues that keep our teeth in place. If treatment does not occur, then that support system for our teeth is destroyed. Eventually teeth will have to be removed as they will become loose.
Signs Of Gum Disease
Most signs of gum disease do not show up until we get into our 30s or 40s. However, men are more likely to get gum disease than women are. Anyone can develop the milder form which is gingivitis. Smokers have a higher risk factor of developing gum disease and smoking also lowers the chances of the treatment being successful. Diabetics have a higher risk of developing gum disease as they are prone to infections. Be aware that many medications, over the counter and prescribed, can inhibit the flow of saliva which can make you more susceptible to gum disease. Genetics and hormonal changes in women may also play a part in the development of gingivitis.
There are many symptoms that will help you detect gum disease early. Swollen or red gums and tender or bleeding gums are common with gum disease. Pain with chewing or loose teeth would be an indication that all is not well in your mouth. Oftentimes a person will have bad breath that just will not go away. Your teeth may be sensitive to hot and cold foods or to chewing in general. Lastly, examine your gum line to determine if it is receding.
Knowledge is power. Know the early symptoms of gum disease. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Floss every day to help remove the plaque from between the teeth. Use one of the many rinses on the market that target plaque and tartar. Avoid or reduce your sugar intake. It is recommended to see a dentist twice yearly for a professional dental cleaning and a general check up. If you follow these guidelines, you will most likely keep your million dollar smile forever!
Nancy Lu is a health enthusiast and blogger who writes on maintaining good health and dental practices.