Gum Disease

Taking care of your gums
Your gums and jaw bones support your teeth, so including gum care into your oral program is critical for overall overall oral health. Gum diseases are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. They begin when the bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed.

Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. If you have gingivitis, you might notice blood on your toothbrush when brushing your teeth, but there is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is most often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.

If untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs when the gums start to pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, warning signs of periodontal disease include the following:

• Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
• Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
• Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
• Loose or separating teeth
• Pus between your gums and teeth
• Sores in your mouth
• Persistently bad breath
• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• A change in the fit of partial dentures
The following factors can increase your risk of gum disease

• Smoking. Need another reason to quit smoking? Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease. Additionally, smoking can lower the chances for successful treatment.
• Hormonal changes in girls/women. These changes can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
• Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease.
• Medications. There are hundreds of prescription and over the counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. And some medications can cause abnormal overgrowth of the gum tissue
• this can make it difficult to keep gums clean.
• Illnesses. Diseases like cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also negatively affect the health of gums.
• Genetic susceptibility. Some people are more prone to severe gum disease than others.