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Gum Disease: Stages and Treatments

At some point in their lives, 1 out of 10 Canadians will develop gum disease. It often progresses unnoticed until it has become a real problem. This is why it is critical to prevent gum disease before it has become a serious issue.

What Is Gum Disease?

Infections of the gums are known as gum diseases. Because your gums operate as a protective covering for your teeth against disease-causing germs, an infection in your gums can lead to more serious complications. Bacteria could infiltrate the deep regions of your teeth if your gums aren’t healthy, causing your teeth to break down. Gum disease is almost always caused by inadequate dental hygiene, which encourages the development of plaque. Plaque can develop into tartar without the proper brushing and flossing techniques. Tartar in the teeth may only be removed by dentists.

How Can a Person Get Gum Disease?

While gum disease is primarily caused by poor dental hygiene, it can occur for a variety of reasons. Knowing what causes gum disease might help you avoid or eliminate the habits or food that contribute to it. If your gum disease isn’t caused by your habits or diet, there’s a chance it’s caused by something else. That is why it is critical to learn about these issues. Knowing what causes gum disease puts you one step ahead of the game.

Below are the main causes of gum disease:

  • Plaque Buildup

Plaque is something that everyone has. When you run your tongue over your teeth, you may notice that it feels fuzzy and rough. This is plaque building up on your teeth. Plaque affects everyone, but people who eat sugary or starchy foods are more likely to have plaque buildup. After you eat or drink certain foods, plaque creates acid which can erode tooth enamel and lead to a variety of gum illnesses.

  • Smoking

A Smoker’s immune system is typically weakened. As a result, once the infection has set in, the body has a hard time battling the bacteria. If smokers get gum disease, it is usually more severe and difficult to treat than it is for non-smokers.

Gums that are pinkish in colour indicate that a person’s gums are healthy. If you smoke, your gums may become discoloured and grey. As a result of the discolouration, you may miss the early indicators of gum disease.

  • Hormone Shifts

Hormonal shifts, particularly in women, can make them more susceptible to gum disease. When estrogen and progesterone levels are high, more blood flows to the gums, making the gums more sensitive. Women are particularly susceptible to the hazards of plaque development because their gums are more sensitive. As plaque accumulates, it can cause bleeding, redness, and inflammation. It can lead to the development of gum disorders if left untreated.

  • Medications

Saliva decreases microorganisms in the mouth by washing it, neutralizing acid in the mouth, and containing chemicals necessary for tooth enamel restoration. A dry mouth lacks the defences needed to battle acid and plaque. Dry mouth can be caused by over-the-counter drugs like antihistamines and decongestants, as well as prescriptions like antidepressants. Gum disease is more likely to develop as your mouth becomes dryer.

  • Lack of Nutrients

Healthy teeth and gums will be able to fight off any infections that may develop in your mouth. Maintaining a nutritious and well-balanced diet can help keep your teeth and gums in good shape.

  • Family History

Genetics can have a significant impact on the state of your teeth. According to studies, children whose parents have gum disease transmit the bacterium that causes gum disease as well. However, this does not rule out the possibility of avoiding it. Maintain appropriate dental hygiene, consume the right foods, and visit the dentist on a regular basis.

Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease comes in various stages:

  • Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a mild kind of gum disease. It is quite common, affecting over half of the adult population. The gums get inflamed and swollen as a result of this condition. When a person does not clean or floss their teeth properly, bacteria and plaque build up and trigger an infection.

  • Periodontitis

Gum disease progresses to periodontitis. This disorder is primarily caused by poor dental hygiene. When a person fails to brush or floss their teeth properly, bacteria in their mouth multiply and dental plaque forms. Germs can deposit minerals that lead to tartar formation if dental plaque is not thoroughly cleansed over time. As a result of the tartar, your gums will become irritated. Pockets arise when there is a continuous rupture between your teeth and your gums. Germs that are harmful to your teeth, gums, and bone structure can enter these pockets.

Periodontitis is divided into three stages: early, moderate, and advanced. The pockets are formed in the early stages, and bacteria enter through these. The symptoms worsen at the moderate stage, and the gums may recede even further. The teeth loosen when the gums recede and the bone support for the teeth deteriorates. Abscesses form as the bacteria worsens the infection behind the gums in the advanced stage.

  • Periodontal Abscess

When periodontitis has progressed to the advanced stage, a periodontal abscess forms. These are pus pockets in the gums. As a result, the tooth is pushed further away from the gums, creating larger pockets that serve as a breeding ground for more germs.

  • Gum Cancer

Because of the red areas in the gums, gum cancer is sometimes mistaken for gingivitis. However, it’s critical to figure out which one you have because gum cancer can spread quickly. If you are concerned about whether you have gingivitis or gum cancer, consult your doctor right away. Early detection is key.

The Warning Signs for Gum Disease

Gum disease is more widespread than previously believed and can cause far more harm than merely tooth loss. It might also impact other parts of your body. Check out some of these warning signs so you can book your appointment with the dentist. Knowing the symptoms means you can seek treatment for gum disease right away.

  • Bleeding Gums

Gum bleeding is uncommon unless you have a proclivity for brushing or flossing your teeth too hard, or if you are sensitive to the toothpaste you are using. If this is the case, you should change your brushing and flossing practices and consult your dentist about alternative toothpaste options. If not, bleeding gums can be an indication of gum disease because your gums may be irritated and swollen, causing bleeding when you brush or make firm movements against them.

  • Bad Breath

Even if you’ve been brushing your teeth daily, if you still have bad breath, it could be an indication of underlying gum disease. Plaque buildup is a common cause of gum disease, which can also lead to bad breath. Brush twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste to see if the bad breath persists. If it does, book an appointment with your dentist immediately.

  • Shifting Teeth and Bite Changes

Shifts in your teeth can be a sign of periodontitis in the advanced stage. The bone structure of your teeth is damaged and the tooth loosens which then results to bite changes.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Understanding how to prevent gum infections is just as important as knowing how to recognize them and their symptoms. Here’s a list of things you can do to avoid getting gum disease or worsening it.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a toothpaste recommended by your dentist. After cleaning your teeth, floss to reach the difficult-to-reach areas and clear them of dirt.
  • Regular dental cleanings and visits are required. Even though we brush and floss every day, there are still areas that we can’t reach or see.
  • Use the appropriate toothpaste. Always notify your doctor if you think you’re having problems with your toothpaste because it could be incompatible with your dental health.

Gum diseases can happen, but there are ways to treat and prevent them. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums, it is vital to keep your gums in good shape. Even though gum diseases are not contagious, you should still pay attention to them because your health will decide how well you live. Good health may improve your life and the lives of others you care about. For a full check of your teeth and gums, always see your dentist.

If you are looking for a dentist near you or in Guelph, contact Dr. Urszula Barrios at 519-767-6453 or info@guelphdentist.com. Book an appointment for happier and healthier teeth and gums.

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