Sometimes, in my line of work as a dentist, I have to break the bad news to patients regarding the state of their teeth and gums.
It can be challenging to inform patients that they have gum disease, an infection of the gums that keep our teeth in place when they insist, they take good care of their teeth.
However, periodontal disease can be brought on by various factors in addition to neglecting one’s dental hygiene. Therefore, there is no one explanation for gum infections. Some other causes and methods of treating gum disease are discussed below.
What Exactly Is Periodontitis?
Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a dangerous condition. Allowing germs to build up on your teeth and gums is the root cause of this condition. Damage to the jawbone and teeth is a potential outcome of periodontitis. However, the damage can be halted if periodontitis is treated early and good dental hygiene is maintained.
What Are the Periodontitis Stages?
Inflammation is the initial stage of periodontitis, and it only gets worse from there.
1. Inflammation (gingivitis)
The first stage of periodontitis is inflammation of the gums or gingivitis. A common symptom of gingivitis is bleeding gums, which might be a warning indication that you need to change your oral hygiene routine.
Tooth discoloration is also possible. The term for this is “plaque.” Plaque forms on teeth when bacteria and leftover food particles combine.
Bacteria are constantly present in the mouth but only cause problems when their numbers grow drastically. This might happen if you don’t take good care of your teeth by regularly brushing, flossing, and seeing a dentist.
2. Precocious Periodontal Disease
Gum recession and the subsequent formation of tiny pockets between the gum line and the teeth characterize the first stages of periodontitis.
Harmful germs thrive in the cracks and crevices. Gum recession occurs while your body’s immune system attempts to eliminate the infection. Brushing and flossing may cause bleeding, and you may also lose bone density.
3. Moderate Periodontal Disease
Mild periodontal disease can cause bleeding and discomfort around the teeth and receding gums. Your teeth will loosen and shift as the bone that supports them deteriorates. A systemic inflammatory reaction may also result from the infection.
4. Severe Periodontal Disease
When a condition progresses, it weakens the connective tissue that keeps your teeth in place. Gum disease causes bone and gum tissue loss, eventually leading to tooth loss. Pain when chewing, chronic poor breath and a sour taste in the mouth are all symptoms of advanced periodontitis. Your tooth loss is inevitable.
The Causes of Periodontitis
Gum disease is hereditary. You may be at a higher risk if this oral bacterial illness runs in your family. Again, practicing good dental hygiene is paramount if you suspect you may have a genetic predisposition.
2. Pathogenic Bacteria
Sometimes, patients pick up strains of bacteria that are especially harmful to the gums and bones that anchor the teeth. This can cause bleeding, bone loss, and tooth movement without apparent discomfort. Patients with this kind of gum disease require therapy, as regular dental hygiene is insufficient to reverse the condition.
Various drugs can cause problems with bleeding or enlargement of the gum tissue. Dry mouth, a side effect of several drugs, promotes the rapid growth of germs in the mouth. Many liquid medicines, antacids, and cough drops are sweetened with sugar, which might make it more necessary to practice good oral hygiene while using them for extended periods.
When it comes to dental hygiene, smoking isn’t the only culprit. Cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and vaporizers all increase the risk of gum disease by a factor of two to three. Smoking delays the healing process of oral tissues and increases their susceptibility to infection.
Chronic cigarette smokers are more likely to get gum disease, and the longer they have been smokers, the more remarkable that risk becomes. According to the CDC, males are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease than females, and smokers are even more at risk.
5. Hormonal Alterations and Pregnancy
Patients may need to pay more attention to their dental health during pregnancy and menstruation. Gum disease risk increases with hormonal transitions. There is evidence that links active periodontal disease in pregnant women to adverse outcomes, including low birth weight and early birth.
6. Gum Disease Increases with Age
Periodontal disease is an age-related health problem, like so many others. Seventy percent of us will be at risk for the most severe gum disease by the time we reach our 60s.
By consistently practicing excellent dental hygiene as we age, we can lessen the chances of this happening to us. Consistency in oral hygiene practices increases the benefits of excellent hygiene. It’s essential to practice good oral hygiene habits every day.
7. Brutal Brushing Routines
Brushing twice a day for two full minutes with a soft bristles toothbrush is crucial. People who only clean their teeth once a day typically do it in the morning, leaving plaque and germs to perform their worst work when we’re out cold.
Bad breath in the morning is just a symptom of a more significant issue. It may seem harmless to skip cleaning your teeth before bed, but since you’re not taking in any liquids while you sleep, germs have much more chance to thrive.
8. Not Flossing or Forgetting
When you brush your teeth, you only clean the visible areas, but what about the microscopic crevices and contact points between your teeth and gums?
By neglecting or forgoing flossing, we unwittingly aid germs in accumulating and surviving in these hard-to-reach places, increasing the likelihood of serious dental issues.
It’s normal to be discouraged from maintaining regular flossing habits when you notice blood on your floss, but this should not stop you from doing so.
9. General And Systemic Disease
Inflammation of the gums is caused by or contributes to all systemic diseases, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease. This is because the dangerous bacteria that cause gum disease may spread to the rest of the body via the lungs and circulation. Thus, there is a reciprocal impact.
10. Battling Bacteria
Some very nasty bacteria can cause damage to the gums and teeth, including bone loss and even bleeding. And pain signals may or may not warn you of this before it’s too late and surgery is necessary.
Article is a guest article for epomedicine