Gum disease is a serious problem for people all over the world and it is one of the leading causes of tooth loss for adults. Beyond having an effect on your teeth and general oral health, gum disease can also have an impact on the overall health of the individual. In the early stages, gum disease may not cause any pain and the individual may not even know that there is a problem. To prevent gum disease and limit the damage that it can cause, it is important that people know what to look for and the factors that can lead to an increased risk.
When it comes to the causes of gum disease, it generally comes down to poor oral hygiene. A thin layer of bacteria, known as plaque, is constantly forming on the teeth. This plaque can harden and form a layer that is known as tartar. Both of these substances contain bacteria that can damage the teeth and irritate the gums. If they build up on the teeth without being removed, they can then cause damage to gums and cause gingivitis.
While poor dental hygiene is usually a key factor in the development of gum disease, there are some risk factors that can increase a person’s exposure to gingivitis. Some people are just more genetically predisposed to gum disease and women that are pregnant will suffer an increased risk. Additionally, certain health conditions like HIV can increase exposure to gum disease. Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco will increase risk and there are some medications that can make a person more prone to gingivitis. Poor dental maintenance like broken fillings or poorly fitting hardware can increase the risk.
The severity of gum disease can vary greatly from one case to the next. Depending on your history of dental health, the condition of your teeth and the stage that the disease is in, the symptoms can range from the extremely harsh to the mild and almost unnoticeable.
Common symptoms for gum disease include bleeding when you brush and floss, a pronounced redness of the gums, soreness, tenderness, pain when chewing, sensitivity and bad breath that is persistent. Along with these symptoms, you may notice some issues that are much more noticeable as a problem. Issues with the teeth becoming loose, puss coming from between the teeth and the gums starting to separate from the teeth are all signs of advanced gum disease.
For most people, regular visits to the dentist and proper oral hygiene will be enough to prevent gum disease. If you experience any of these symptoms or suspect for any reason that you may have gum disease, then it is important to get an examination as soon as possible. When the disease is caught early, a mild case can usually be treated through non-invasive treatments that mostly focus on cleaning and improving oral hygiene. However, if the disease is allowed to advance too far, it could require surgery that is both costly and painful.