Why its important to tackle gum disease
Tackling gum disease
Often taken for granted, the monotonous task of brushing and flossing our teeth daily has never been more important to avoid gum disease and the risks it places on our overall health. It has been estimated that 75 percent of population suffers from some sort of gum disease that is now linked to serious health complications that go beyond oral health. Besides, adequate care of the gums guards against various dental problems in later life.
Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease include tobacco use, clenching or grinding your teeth, certain medications and genetics.
There are several different types of gum disease. The most common forms include gingivitis and periodontitis. The beginning stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and often goes undetected. This stage of the disease is reversible. Untreated gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, the next stage of gum disease. With many levels of periodontitis, the common outcome is chronic inflammatory response, a condition when the body breaks down the bone and tissue in the infected area of the mouth, ultimately resulting in tooth and bone loss.
Signs of gum disease include red, bleeding and swollen gums; bad breath; movement of teeth in the mouth, tooth sensitivity caused by receding gums, abscessed teeth and tooth loss. Recent studies suggest gum disease may contribute to or be warning signs of potentially life threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Reports suggest that gingivitis may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the high levels of bacteria found in infected areas of the mouth. As the level of periodontal disease worsens, the risk of cardiovascular disease also increases. Other studies have suggested that the inflammation in the gums may create a chronic inflammation response in other parts of the body which has also been implicated in increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
People with diabetes often have some form of gum disease often caused by high blood glucose levels. People with diabetes need to take extra care to ensure proper brushing and flossing techniques are used to prevent the advancement of gum disease. Regular check-ups and cleanings with your dental hygienist should be followed.
Research indicates that women with periodontal disease are three to five times more likely to have a baby born preterm compared to women without any form of gum disease. Women are more susceptible to gingivitis when pregnant and should follow their regular brushing habits, and continue with dental cleanings and examinations.
Depending on the type of gum disease, some of the available treatment options include regular cleanups and mouthwash. Removal of plaque and calculus by scaling done by your dental hygienist or dentist is a good way of warding off the condition. Medications such as chlorhexidine gluconate, a mouth rinse prescribed by dentists can also kill bacteria in the mouth.
Surgery may be necessary in some cases to stop or minimize the progression of periodontal disease. This is a good option to replace bone lost in advanced stages of the disease.
Proper brushing and flossing is the easiest way to reduce and prevent gum disease, but regular cleanup with your dental hygienist or dentist are necessary to remove calculus and treat advanced gum disease. If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, contact your dentist today!