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Everything You Don't Want To Know About Gum Disease

Aug 17, 2007
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, refers to any infection in the gum tissue that surround and support your teeth. There is a very small crevice between the tooth and the gum called the sulcus, and periodontal diseases will attack in this space, causing the gum tissue and supporting bone to break down and separate from the teeth. This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention methods associated with gum disease.

It is thought that gingivitis often leads to more severe forms of gum disease. Gingivitis is a milder and more common buildup of plaque and bacteria at the gum line and inside the sulcus. If not properly treated, gingivitis can progress to gum disease causing gum tissue degradation and tooth loss. Other factors that can contribute to the risk of periodontal disease developing are tobacco use, diabetes, genetics, pregnancy, defective fillings, ill-fit bridges, and certain medications such as steroids and oral contraceptives. You should always ask your doctor about gum disease risks before beginning a new medication.

Symptoms of gum disease include swollen or tender gums, spaces between the gums and your teeth, recession of the gums, loose teeth, a change in the way your teeth fit together, gums that bleed easily, and persistent bad breath or a bad taste in one's mouth. Remember - periodontal disease can often be painless, so even pain-free bleeding should be seen as a possible sign of gum disease.

Gingivitis, the earlier and milder stage of gum disease, is reversible. Your dentist will remove the plaque causing the infection, but it is then up to you to continue a regular and thorough dental hygiene routine. To treat periodontitis, the more sever form of gum disease, your dentist will use scraping instruments to remove the bacterial plaque and calculus. However, often little can be done to repair the bone loss caused by periodontitis. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. In fact, it is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults over the age of 35.

It has also been shown that periodontal disease can lead to other health problems such as low birth weight or pre-term births for newborns of affected mothers, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Thankfully, the best treatment for gum disease is prevention. By subscribing to a twice-daily dental hygiene regime that includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing you are doing the best thing possible to prevent gum disease. Regular check-ups with your dentist will also help identify any early warning signs while professional teeth cleanings can reach places your everyday oral hygiene routine can't.
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