Many Americans suffer one or another kind of gum disease, and it can be as simple as gum inflammation, or more serious types such as major soft tissue or bone damage. No matter what it may be, you have to know the basics of what gum disease is, so you will find it easier to deal with it along the way. Seeking help from a good dentist in Columbia, MD is key. Note that gum diseases are really not something you can diagnose, and treat on your own, so consulting a professional is key to this problem.
How Does it Start?
Gum problems are also known as periodontal disease. The mouth is teeming with bacteria. When the bacteria combine with mucus, and other particles inside the mouth, they form plaque. It is possible to avoid plaque by brushing and flossing, but there are instances when it is not removed, and this results in a build-up called tartar. The longer this substance stays in the mouth, the more harmful it becomes. This is when gingivitis develops.
Gingivitis causes inflammation of the gums, making them bleed easily. If left untreated, periodontitis develops. This is characterized by the pulling away of the gum's inner layer from the tooth, thus creating so-called "pockets". The pockets collect debris and bacteria, which infects the gums. The toxins produced by the bacteria in the pockets destroy the connective tissues that anchor the teeth. This leads to the loosening of the teeth.
Now that you know what gum disease is and how it starts, you should also know the other reasons why they happen. Although plaque and tartar are the primary culprits in gum disease, there are also other contributing factors:
a. Hormonal changes that take place during puberty, menstruation, menopause and pregnancy make the gums more sensitive. This makes the gums more prone to gingivitis.
b. Illnesses such as cancer, HIV and diabetes interfere with the immune system; thus, weakening the body's defense against bacteria.
c. Even the medicine you take may play a role in your oral health. Some medications lessen the flow of saliva - the mouth's natural protection and some also cause abnormal gum tissue growth.
d. Bad habits like smoking slows down the gum tissue's ability to repair itselfs, and poor oral hygiene adds to the build-up of plaque and tartar in the mouth.
Signs and Symptoms
If you are experiencing the following, then it is about time that you consult your dentist:
a. Tender and bleeding gums.
b. Loose and sensitive teeth.
c. Receding gums or seemingly longer-looking teeth.
d. Bad breath.
Knowing what gum disease is, how it develops, and its tell-tale signs are important. They can be treated and even prevented if you are aware of the basics, so educate yourself and avoid the disease!