Gum disease is a common and serious oral disease that is often ignored and left untreated. Unfortunately, the lack of sufficient knowledge about it is a problem. Some people may already have it but are unaware until it’s too late.
Gum disease can cause tooth loss and other health complications, but it can be prevented, diagnosed, and treated. Rufe Snow Dental Team can explain all you need to know concerning gum disease and the complications involved. Everyone must be aware of the symptoms, causes, treatments, and prevention tips, as well as, home remedies and dietary changes that can help.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums, the tissue that supports the teeth. Bacteria accumulate around the teeth as a “soft film” or plaque, resulting in inflammation of the gums. Bacteria in plaque release toxins that damage gums, bones, and teeth. If left untreated, the disease may cause severe damage to the jaw bone and eventually lead to tooth loss.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
The first signs of gum disease are red, swollen, and tender gums that may bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. The common symptoms may include:
- Red or swollen and tender gums
- Bad breath
- Sensitive or bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Sensitive teeth
- Discomfort when biting or chewing
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
Once you notice any of these changes in your mouth, visit your dentist, the soonest as possible for proper treatment.
Can anyone have gum disease?
It is wrong to believe that gum disease affects mainly adults and the elderly. Even children can be affected without knowing it.
That’s why people of all ages should get dental checkups every 6 months to ensure their teeth and gums are healthy.
Can gum disease affect our overall health?
Gum disease and periodontitis are often connected to other health problems.
- Diabetics are more inclined to develop gum disease. Also, periodontitis can cause abnormal glucose levels.
- According to a study, patients with severe periodontitis have a high risk of gettingan ischemic stroke, if a blood vessel delivering blood to the brain is blocked.
- Another study showed a connection between periodontitis with an increase in cancer risk and specifically pancreatic cancer.
How Does Gum Disease Develop?
In the beginning, a patient may not feel any pain or discomfort. Gum disease can develop in two stages – gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Gingivitis is the onset of gum disease and can be reversible. Gum tissues start to swell, and patients experience redness and some bleeding. If treated promptly, it will not cause permanent damage to gums, bones, or teeth. Gingivitis may be reversed by removing the plaque bacteria that attach to your gums and teeth with proper oral hygiene.
- Periodontitis- If gingivitis is left untreated it develops intoperiodontitis. At this stage, the gum, bones, and teeth are infected by bacteria/toxins. It is considered irreversible, but it can be managed with treatments. However, without prompt and proper treatment, the infection may affect your bones, bloodstream, and immune system. The final stage is characterized by rapid bone loss and teeth becoming loose.
Periodontitis does not happen suddenly, so when you notice the first symptoms seek treatment. If detected early, gum disease can be reversed. It’s important to know that it is preventable with regular oral hygiene and routine cleaning at the dental clinic.
What can cause gum disease?
Poor oral hygiene can cause bacteria to accumulate around the teeth and gums, resulting in inflammation of the gums. Risk factors for gum disease include smoking, inadequate nutrition, specific medication, cancer, heart medications, steroids, genetics, diabetes, hormonal change, and stress.
Diagnosis of Gum Disease
Your dentist can diagnose gum disease or gingivitis by examining your mouth, teeth, and gums. You may be required to take X-rays to look for signs of bone or tissue loss. Your dentist will also look for calculus (or tartar) deposits on your teeth, staining and roughness of teeth, and fillings. If your dentist suspects gum disease, they may refer you to a periodontist for further evaluation and treatment.
Treatments and Prevention of Gum Disease & Gingivitis
The most common treatment for gum disease and gingivitis is professional cleaning. During this procedure, your dentist will remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. They may also prescribe an antibiotic to help reduce the infection.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair any damage caused by periodontal disease. If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, you must follow your dentist’s instructions to ensure the best possible outcome.
In addition to professional cleaning, there are several steps you can take to prevent gum disease and gingivitis:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss daily
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Quit smoking
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Reduce stress
Is Gum Disease Contagious?
Gum disease can spread from person to person. The bacteria can be passed on to another through saliva. So, to avoid the risk of infection, take the necessary precautions:
- Do not share your toothbrush
- Do not use the same utensils, like spoons and forks
- Do not drink from the same glass, mug, or bottle
- Do not bite out of the same food, snacks, chocolate bars
- Do not eat from the same plate or take a bite of the same snacks, chocolate bars
- Do not kiss
If someone has any symptoms of gum disease, make sure to wash well your kitchen utensils and avoid sharing food and drinks.
Home Remedies for Gum Disease & Gingivitis
Your dentist can explain the most effective methods of home care for you. Home remedies may help reduce the symptoms of gum disease at an early stage. Such remedies include:
●Saltwater rinse: Mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and use it to rinse your mouth twice a day. This can help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
●Turmeric: Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help reduce the symptoms of gum disease. Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder with a bit of water to make a paste and apply it to your gums.
●Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the symptoms of gum disease. Mix some drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and massage it into your gums.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Proper oral hygiene habits are essential for preventing and treating gum disease. Brush your teeth twice daily with a high-quality toothbrush for at least 2 minutes. Clean between the teeth with floss or interdental brushes at least once a day, to remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums. A diligent oral hygiene regime is required.
Take special care to clean plaque bacteria if you have crooked or crowded teeth, bridges, and implants. Talk with your dentist about what and how to use dental floss correctly.
Don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings, as this can help reduce the risk of gum disease.
Rufe Snow Dental can explain how and how often you may need to have your teeth professionally cleaned. Usually, you should see your dentist every 3 months or twice a year. Regular visits every 6 months are a must, even for patients who may not suffer from gum disease.
Diet and Nutrition for Gum Disease
Eating a healthy, balanced diet helps prevent and treat gum disease. Foods high in vitamins A, C, and D, as well as calcium, can help reduce inflammation and keep the gums healthy. Foods beneficial for gum health include:
It is mandatory to cut down on sugary and processed foods, as these can increase the risk of gum disease.
Gum disease can affect anyone without even knowing it. If left untreated, it can cause complications to your overall health. So, be well-informed about periodontitis to stop the disease at its earliest stages.
Proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention can minimize your risk. Once you notice any symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact the Rufe Snow Dental Team. We make it our priority to keep your gums healthy and reduce your risk of gum disease.