Research estimates that 75% of Americans will develop gum disease at some point in their life. Therefore, there’s a high chance that you or somebody known to you has gum disease.
Are you aware that various forms of gum disease exist that might impact your overall health? If left untreated, some types of gum disease can heighten your likelihood of developing various health conditions, such as diabetes.
The largely preventable disease occurs because of poor dental hygiene and is most evident in adults. If you have swollen or bleeding gums, you probably have periodontal or gum disease.
How Does Gum Disease Arise?
Gum disease starts with bacterial growth in the mouth, which can infect the tissue surrounding your teeth. In turn, inflammation arises, leading to periodontal disease. Everyone has a range of mouth bacteria, some of which thrive on the sugars in the food we consume and then form plaque.
Plaque is a sticky coating that offers the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Unremoved plaque can harden to form tartar, which needs professional cleaning. Tartar accumulation can also spread beneath the gum line, making it harder to clean your teeth. At this point, you’ll need a dentist to stop the progression of periodontal disease.
Since this disease is usually painless, you might not beware of it. For this reason, we recommend regular checkups and periodontal examinations. Call your dentist at Hilltop Dental to set up an appointment.
Stages of Gum Disease
When bacteria and its harmful byproducts linger on teeth, it can cause gingivitis. This form of disease describes gum inflammation that occurs around the teeth. It’s the early stage of gum disease exhibited by swollen, red gums that bleed easily. During this stage, it’s possible to reverse the disease, typically through professional dental cleaning followed by daily flossing and brushing.
If you notice puffy or red gums, don’t stop brushing. Instead, switch to a soft toothbrush to eliminate the plaque and bacteria causing the issue. Your gums will soon feel and look better. If you don’t notice gum improvement or discontinued bleeding, we recommend you come to visit us at Hilltop Dental.
The last thing you want to do is to prolong gingivitis, which could progress into serious gum issues that could affect your heart, lungs, and other parts of your body. Specifically, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis if untreated. Left unchecked, this disease can cause gum separation from your teeth, causing:
- Soft tissue injury
- Loose and unstable teeth
- Tooth loss
This term describes the advanced stage of gum disease, which can lead to bone and tissue loss. The gum’s function is to offer a protective bone covering to hold your teeth in place. The term given to the set of bone and gum structures that support and surround the teeth while maintaining their place is the periodontium.
Your gums offer periodontium protection by creating a seal around the tooth’s root. Periodontitis arises from an inflamed periodontium caused by plaque-containing bacteria and your body’s immune reaction to it.
When the gum seal faces damage from gum disease, spaces can develop between the gum and tooth root. These spaces, or periodontal pockets, trap bacteria causing further periodontium damage. Over time, there’s bone damage and loss, followed by the formation of larger spaces between the gum and tooth.
The disease has the potential to become severe, resulting in loose teeth. While the disease worsens gradually, periods of fast progression can take place.
Aggressive periodontitis is very destructive and occurs in otherwise healthy people. If untreated, the structures that enable firm tooth attachment to the gum might face severe damage, causing tooth pain and loose teeth.
Causes of Gum Disease
In most instances, periodontitis development begins with plaque. However, other factors can cause the disease, including:
This habit disrupts the normal tissue cell functioning in the gums, making one’s mouth more susceptible to infections such as gum disease.
Fluctuations in hormones can increase the susceptibility to gum disease. People who are pregnant or going through other hormonal changes should make sure to perform extra oral care throughout this time to sustain oral health.
Certain illnesses might affect your gum’s condition, especially those which impede the immune system, like HIV and cancer.
Gum Disease Prevention
Gingivitis is reversible, and you can prevent gum disease from worsening in almost all cases by practicing appropriate plaque control, which comprises professional cleanings at least twice annually combined with daily flossing and brushing. If you’re due for a cleaning, give Hilltop Dental a call to schedule an appointment.
Adopt the habit of brushing your teeth twice daily using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Flossing eliminates plaque and food particles beneath the gum line and between your teeth. You want to adopt a daily flossing routine instead of waiting for something to get trapped between the teeth. Other lifestyle changes that can decrease the likelihood of gum disease include:
- Maintaining a balanced diet
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding or treating teeth grinding and clenching
Treating Gum Disease
The goals of treating gum disease are
- reattaching healthy gums
- reducing swelling
- preventing disease progression
The treatment options will rely on the stage of the condition, your response to previous treatments, and overall health.
It’s worth noting that you have a good chance of successful treatment when you implement a daily routine of good dental care and manage conditions that might impact oral health.
Conditions Associated with Gum Disease
Numerous medical conditions cause poor healing of dental tissues. However, if you’re diabetic, you should beware that you’re at risk for poor healing from any dental issue. People with diabetes face a greater likelihood of infections and frequently experience dry mouth, which can stimulate gingivitis and tooth decay. Also, the body’s response to gum infections can result in blood sugar problems.
This means that treating gingivitis can be harder because of poor healing. That’s why we emphasize a regular dental care routine. Tell your dentist at Hilltop Dental if you have diabetes to ensure the right treatment approach.
Certain medical conditions or medications might cause dry mouth, leaving your mouth susceptible to gum disease. Saliva works to wash plaque, so in cases of a dry mouth, plaque bacteria can cause damage in the form of gingivitis and tooth decay.
This condition can increase your likelihood of gum disease development. In particular, gingivitis can be an early sign of leukemia in children. Gingivitis occurs in patients with leukemia when cells penetrate the gums, increasing the severity of the dental condition because leukemia decreases the body’s capacity to fight infection.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
To determine the existence of gum disease and the severity, your dentist at Hilltop Dental might:
- Assess your health history — This will spot any factors that might be eliciting the symptoms, for instance, certain medications.
- Evaluate your mouth — A mouth examination will reveal tartar and plaque accumulation while examining signs of easy bleeding.
- Take x-rays — This will identify areas where bone loss has taken place.
- Check for loose teeth – Sometimes, teeth may loosen because of bone loss or an improper bite.
- Examine sensitive teeth — Sensitive teeth around the gum line might signify receding gums.
Risk Factors of Gum Disease
Various risk factors might contribute to gum disease progression or development. You should discuss with your dental provider about any possible risk factors to establish a suitable treatment plan.
Tobacco use is associated with numerous illnesses, including lung and heart disease. Smokers also face a heightened risk of gum disease. Studies reveal that tobacco use is a significant factor in the progression and development of periodontal disease.
Certain drugs, such as anti-depressants, can impact your oral health. Let your dentist at Hilltop Dental know about any medications you’re taking.
A diet that lacks sufficient nutrients can compromise your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight infection. Since gum disease starts as an infection, poor nutrition could worsen your gum condition.
Teeth Clenching or Grinding
Grinding or clenching your teeth can impose excess force on the teeth’s supporting tissues, accelerating the pace at which periodontal tissue destruction occurs.
Identifying Gum Disease
Gums are an essential component of our overall and oral health. Therefore, they deserve our attention like any other body part. You want to watch out for these signs and seek help where necessary.
This is a major indicator of gum disease. Many people tend to shrug off traces of blood on their toothbrushes, yet this could be a sign of periodontitis. Fortunately, you can act before it’s too late. With the correct and timely treatment, you can enjoy oral health restoration. The next time you visit your dentist at Hilltop Dental, make sure you mention if you’re experiencing bleeding gums.
By the time you notice this symptom, gum disease has likely advanced. As your gums pull back, your tooth root is more exposed to bacteria, causing decay and possible extraction.
At this stage, the treatment will entail antibiotics, root planning, and scaling. If your gums show signs of significant recession, a gum graft might be necessary for rebuilding a healthy gum line.
Swelling and Redness
The early warning symptom could be evident in an isolated spot or across your gum line. If your gums show signs of swelling and redness, they will probably be sensitive to extreme temperatures and touch. In this case, the inflammation originates from tartar and bacteria accumulation. Fortunately, professional dental cleaning at Hilltop Dental can restore your oral health.
This condition signifies a severe gum infection and needs immediate treatment. An abscess can be painful and causes fever, swelling, and other signs. What’s more, there’s a chance that the infection could affect other body parts.
Unlike other infections, an abscess doesn’t heal itself, so you simply can’t wait it out. The treatment will entail abscess draining, infection elimination, and surgical procedures to reverse any jawbone and gum damage. The experienced dentists at Hilltop Dental can develop an aggressive treatment program to prevent deterioration while offering restorative treatment choices.
See your dentist at Hilltop Dental
Most of us don’t think beyond our teeth when it comes to oral health. Yet a huge percentage of adults have some type of gum disease. Most of us don’t even realize that gum disease can harm our oral health if untreated, resulting in gum recession, infections, and possible tooth loss. Remember, gums play an important role in our overall health, so we shouldn’t take them for granted. The dental experts at Hilltop Dental can assess the health of your gums. Make an appointment today!