Prevention and Treatment of Gum Disease
You can prevent gum disease with good oral hygiene
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Today we’re going to look at the causes of gum disease and how we can prevent and treat it. While gum disease is something we should always be aware of, incidences of gum disease start to increase as we reach our 30s. However, when we reach our 40s and 50s, we see that number jump even higher. In fact, gum disease is the biggest cause of tooth loss in middle age, so maintaining our gum health is very important for protecting our teeth! Let’s take a look at how we can do just that.
Periodontitis is commonly referred to simply as gum disease. It occurs in the tissues around the teeth, including the gums, roots of the teeth, periodontal ligaments, and the alveolar bone, which surround the teeth.
Usually, people don’t recognize that they have gum disease at first. Only after the condition has developed untreated for a while will people feel pain and other symptoms. In the early stages, symptoms often appear and disappear so people assume it isn’t a big deal. This can lead to the disease becoming very severe because it’s left untreated for too long. Therefore, if you think you might have gum disease, it would be a good idea to visit your dentist right away and seek treatment.
Causes of Gum Disease
The fundamental cause of gum disease is bacteria found in the mouth. There are hundreds of millions of bacteria living in the mouth, which attach to the outer surface of teeth via a thin, sticky membrane. This is called plaque. Plaque easily attaches to the surface of teeth, and if it remains for a long time without being removed by brushing, it gradually produces bad toxins. These cause inflammation and break down the alveolar bone, which can lead to gum disease.
If plaque is not removed by brushing within a few days, it will soon combine with calcium ions in the saliva and begin calcification. This means it will soon turn into a solid mass called tartar. Tartar appears in various colors (white, yellow, brown, etc.). Unlike plaque, it is very difficult to remove, so you must visit the dentist to remove it.
In addition, various diseases or lifestyle habits such as stress, smoking, or even diabetes can affect the occurrence of gum disease.
Treatment for Gum Disease
Treatment for gum disease varies depending on how much the disease has progressed. Treatment includes teeth cleaning, root planing, periodontal surgery, or even alveolar bone reconstruction.
As we already explained, gum disease is an inflammatory disease caused by bacteria in the mouth. So, removing plaque, which has been identified as the main cause, is the most important preventive measure. Plaque can be removed by brushing often, but since plaque can attach more strongly to your teeth than expected, how often you brush your teeth is not as important as the way in which you brush your teeth.
When gum disease occurs, the gums recede and the space between the teeth widens, exposing the roots. When this happens, it becomes difficult to remove plaque completely with just brushing. Therefore, you should use dental floss and interdental toothbrushes to try to remove the plaque.
If you do a good job removing the plaque, the pain and discomfort will disappear. Unfortunately, many people then go back to their old habits because they think their disease has been cured. However, gum disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth, so if you don’t take care of it continuously, it can worsen again over time. Regular dental checkups for periodic teeth cleaning can prevent and treat these oral diseases early, so regular dental visits are a must.
Now that you have a better idea of the causes and treatments of gum disease, we hope that you can take better care of your gums. It is important to brush and floss every day and get regular dental cleanings. Just because you aren’t in immediate pain, doesn’t mean you aren’t struggling with gum disease. When in doubt, always check with a professional. See you next time!