By Aspen Dental



Isn’t it interesting how many adults living in the U.S. suffer from gum disease? Studies have it that about 30% of adults are susceptible to this condition irrespective of their lifestyle. If you’re one of them, don’t panic. It’s really not as bad as the facts state. What’s very important, however, is how you care for your teeth and gums on a daily basis.

While you may currently be surviving with this disease or trying to get it reduced or stopped, we’ve come up with this article to help you get a full picture of gum disease, including the signs that come with it and possible medication to reduce the damage it may have caused to your teeth. As you read, you’ll find information in this order:

  • What is Gum Disease?

  • What are the Known Causes?

  • What Signs and Symptoms can you Look Out for?

  • How do you Treat it?

  • When Should you see a Dentist?

What is Gum Disease?

Some diseases that affect the mouth are called periodontal disease. They could influence the soft tissue which keeps the teeth in-shape or develop as an inflammation around the tooth. When these happen, your teeth lose their place, and your overall health is influenced negatively. But, how does this disease start in the first place?

Without a doubt, bacteria are in our mouths, and over time, they form some sticky substance that stays on our teeth. This substance is known as plaque, and you’ll notice it after some hours of eating a meal or at the end of a day. We often remove this plaque when we brush our teeth or engage in flossing. Both activities help to ensure that the plaque doesn’t remain glued to the teeth. However, when the plaque stays there for a long time, it becomes permanent and difficult to remove. It then goes on to form tartar, which causes a toothache and inflammation. Without the help of a dentist, plaque cannot be removed, and it can result in gingivitis which at worst becomes periodontics.

When gingivitis occurs, the gums get inflamed, red, and swollen. Bleeding is also common, but that doesn’t make it extreme. The teeth are still in place, and regular brushing, flossing, and cleaning can heal the gums faster. But, in the case of periodontics, a mild gum disease has been left untreated and has now led to a separation of the gums from the teeth. The open areas become infected with bacteria due to direct exposure to bacteria. At this point, the tissue that supports the teeth becomes weakened, and removing the teeth is inevitable.

What’s quite shocking about this disease is that observations show it could lead to heart disease, diabetes, and underweight newborns. We can’t say specifically if this disease is the sole cause of these other conditions, but we know for sure that health is negatively influenced when gum disease is detected. Hence, the next question is, what leads to gingivitis or periodontics?

What are the Known Causes?

Dental hygiene goes a long way in protecting your teeth and gums from microorganisms that often disturb the health of your dentition. There are many causes of gum disease, and we’ll be sharing ten common ones with you.

  1. Plaque: This is a thick substance that often sticks to your teeth as a result of the interplay between food, saliva, and bacteria. When this plaque becomes permanent, it causes gum disease but may still be corrected at an early stage. By brushing, flossing and getting your teeth checked regularly, you never have to be at the mercy of plaque.

  2. Family History: If members of your family have suffered from gum disease, then there’s a possibility that you’ll be affected too. So, it’s wise that you inform your dentist when you go in for your check-ups.

  3. Improper Nutrition: When your meals are lacking in vitamin C and sufficient water but are rich in carbohydrates and sugar, you’re prone to store more plaque, increasing the risk of contracting gum disease.

  4. Smoking: This is responsible for interrupting the proper function of the tissue cells of your gums. It leads to infections and slow healing.

  5. Cancer: A person diagnosed with cancer and being treated for it has a greater chance of getting gum disease.

  6. Diabetes: This condition also triggers gum disease and slows down the healing ability of the gums.

  7. Hormonal changes: During menopause, pregnancy, or puberty, women experience some shifts in their hormonal levels. Within these periods, they are susceptible to swollen gums and bleeding. It’s most common in puberty, and it ends when the menstrual cycle or pregnancy period is over.

  8. Medications: Taking prescribed medications, like anti-seizure medication, can leave your mouth dry and make it a breeding ground for bacteria. If you have to use such medication while treating gum disease, inform your dental hygienist to ensure that he provides a more flexible strategy.

  9. Crooked Teeth: If you have teeth that overlap or are crooked, your gums will have more spaces that can allow easy passage for bacteria. When tartar sticks and invades the gums, inflammation is in its wake. Hence, you’ll need to manage the misalignment by brushing and flossing regularly.

  10. Alcohol Intake: When you take alcohol, you weaken your body’s ability to protect your oral health.

What Signs and Symptoms can you Look Out for?

Healthy gums are usually pink, firm, and very supportive to your teeth. Anything description other than these is an indication of gum disease. Are you aware that gum disease is painless and not easily detected? Since you may never know early if you’ve got the disease, why not note the signs that signal it? These distinct symptoms include the following:

  • Bleeding gums while brushing, flossing, or eating

  • Painful, swollen, and red gums

  • Space between teeth and gums

  • Bad taste or bad breath

  • Difference in teeth alignment

  • Slight or intense pain during eating and chewing

  • Noticeable pus around the gums

  • Mouth sores

  • Excess saliva

  • Receding gums that appear to increase the length of the teeth

  • Oversensitivity of the teeth to coldness or hotness

  • Difficulty in talking.

These signs may not always be conspicuous or enough to convince you that you’ve got this condition of the gums. Thus, we advise that you see a Logan, Utah, dentist that can help ascertain whether or not something is wrong. He can help with early detection, making it much easier for individuals to know the overall health of their teeth and gums. This is usually done by using dental radiographs, along with checking for loose gums and bleeding.

How do you Treat it?

When periodontists treat gum disease, their aim is to reduce swelling of gums and reattach the gums to the teeth. Other goals are to reduce pockets and stop the effects of infections and other diseases. The degree of the infection determines what treatment type will be offered, but in any case, these are the possible options:

  • Nonsurgical Therapies (like laser therapy)

  • Deep Scaling

  • Root Planing

  • Surgeries (like flap surgery and pocket reduction surgery)

  • Soft-Tissue Grafts

Laser therapy is aimed at improving the health of the gum, and this is done by using a soft tissue laser to remove all harmful bacteria that may be located in deep pockets and remove delicate tissues. This treatment can also be used for quick healing of the gums.

Deep scaling and root planing are useful for cleaning teeth that have deep pockets in a case where gingivitis has led to periodontics.

Flap surgery is a surgical treatment that aids thorough and efficient cleaning of the teeth and gums by providing better access to the tooth surfaces. Pocket reduction surgery involves a process of numbing the gums for a period, allowing a professional to clean the area and reposition the gums to the teeth. The result of this procedure is that patients can now brush and floss easily without being too cautious or experiencing pain.

Soft-tissue grafts are fitted into roof surfaces that resulted from receding gums. This brings about strength and protection for previously weakened teeth.

But, who says you have to go through these treatments when you can actually prevent this condition? Take the following steps, and you’ll find them worth more than even the treatment:

  • Brush and floss daily as this removes plaque from both reachable and seemingly unreachable parts of the mouth.

  • Plaque control also involves getting a professional cleaning every four to six months.

  • Wash your mouth with antibacterial mouth rinses. These can help reduce the growth of harmful bacteria.

  • Eat healthily and fill your diet with vitamin C and antioxidants that can boost your immune system and help your oral defense mechanisms. Such foods are nuts, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and potatoes.

  • Work on Stress: When you expose your body to excessive stress or strenuous activities, your immune system grows weak, and it becomes difficult to fight inflammation and diseases. Hence, take it one day at a time, and relax more often.

  • Stop your Smoking Habit: Chewing tobacco is a mother cause of periodontics. Some people can’t do without a stick a day. Well, that’s a free invitation for gum disease. But, if you really care about your health, you’ll challenge yourself to stop this habit and replace it with something more healthy and beneficial to your well-being.

  • Reduce Pressure on Your Tissues: As much as possible, don’t clench your teeth or forcefully match them. Why? This hurts the supporting tissues that keep your teeth in place. Keep them from getting destroyed by reducing the pressure you put on them and by eating your food softly.

No matter how many of these prevention and treatment methods you follow, if gum disease is a family thing for you, you can’t run away from it easily. So, what’s the way out?

When Should you see a Dentist?

If you sense that you’re prone to bleeding gums or soreness in your mouth, don’t wait till other symptoms appear. Early detection has been noted to aid quicker recoveries. So, inform your dentist or periodontist immediately, and go for regular check-ups. You can better manage the condition when you receive professional cleaning and treatment as often as possible.

Do you need to ask some questions about symptoms you’ve noticed in your teeth and gums? We are skilled and experienced Logan dentists who understand every process of gingivitis and periodontics up to the advanced stages. Why not book your appointment now before the plaque gets ahead of you?