Question: What is gum disease and how can it be prevented?
Answer: Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. The gum tissue becomes red and thick and bleeds easily on brushing. Periodontal disease
attacks below the gum line and causes the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down .As the tissue becomes more damage, treat a pocket develops around the tooth, check as the process progresses, the teeth eventually becomes loose and may eventually start falling out on their own.
Periodontal diseases are classified according to severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis may lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal disease called periodontitis.
Factors that increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
-tobacco smoking and chewing.
-systemic diseases such as diabetes.
-certain medications such as steroids, dilantin( drug used to treat epilepsy), and some anti-cancer drugs.
-bridges that are ill-fitting
-pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives
Warning signs that can signal a problem
-gums that bleed easily
-red, swollen, tender gums
-gums that have pulled away from the teeth
-persistent bad breath or bad taste
-permanent teeth that are loose or separating
-change in the way your teeth come together when you bite
-any change in the fit of partial dentures
Recommendation: Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important. . Good oral hygiene at home, which should include regular brushing and flossing at least twice per day can prevent gum disease. If gum disease still develops, then regular cleanings by the dentist or hygienist can treat it or maintain it so that it does not get worse. For existing periodontal disease, a referral to a gum specialist ( periodontist) may be necessary. A periodontist have advance training in gum treatment and does more aggressive treatment which may include deep scaling and root planning, gum surgery, tissue and bone grafting.
The good news is that this condition can be treated successfully and is also preventable.