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Gum Periodontal Diseases

Gum disease or periodontal disease is an infection of the gums or gingival - a tissue which supports the teeth. Gum diseases are a threat to a person’s oral health and can range from simple gum inflammation to major damage to the bone and soft tissue which supports the teeth.

The mucus and bacteria present in the mouth along with residual food particles constantly form a colorless, sticky plaque on the teeth. Proper brushing and flossing the teeth helps to get rid of the plaque. If plaque is not removed, then it accumulates and hardens and forms bacteria harboring tartar which cannot be cleaned by simple brushing and requires professional help for cleaning.

Periodontal diseases are broadly divided into gingivitis and periodontitis.

A long standing plaque or tartar causes gum inflammation, this gum inflammation caused by bacteria is called gingivitis. Gums become red, swollen and swollen gums easily bleed. Gingivitis is not a serious form of the disease and the infection can be reversed by brushing and flossing. However if bleeding gums are not treated at a right time then it can lead to more serious form of the disease.

Gingivitis when not treated can advance to periodontitis where the gums pull away from the teeth and form infection in the pockets. When plaque and tartar spreads and grows below the gum line, the body’s immune system takes an active part to destroy the bacteria. The bacterial toxins along with the body’s enzymes then start to breakdown the connective tissue and bone which holds the teeth in place. Eventually this can cause the bones, connective tissues and gums to destroy if not treated. In worst cases the teeth can become lose and fall out.

Receding gums occur when there is loss of gum tissue and the teeth and the gum have been separated apart

Some risk factors for gum disease include -

  • Smoking - Smoking besides causing other major threat to a persons health, smoking is the most significant factor for the development of peridontal disease.
  • Stress - Excess stress can increase the risk of developing some infections, including gum diseases.
  • Hormonal changes in women - Gums become more sensitive and women can experience gingivitis with hormonal changes in the body.
  • Diabetes - Individuals with diabetes are highly susceptible to get an infection, including gum disease.
  • Medications - Certain medications including heart medications and antidepressants can affect the oral health of a person.
  • Illness and genetic susceptibility are also risk factors for developing gum diseases.

Maintaining an oral hygiene is very important to avoid any form of gum disease. For this, avoid any tobacco containing products, brush at least twice daily, clean your mouth with plain water after eating anything, floss daily and eat a well-balanced diet.

Submitted on January 16, 2014