About 4 in 10 adults aged 30 years or older had gum (periodontal) diseases in 20092014.5 Gum disease is mainly the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. Certain chronic conditions increase ones risk for periodontal disease including diabetes, a weakened immune system, poor oral hygiene, and heredity. Tobacco use is also an important risk factor for gum disease. If early forms of periodontal diseases are not treated, the bone that supports the teeth can be lost, and the gums can become infected. Teeth with little bone support can become loose and may eventually have to be extracted.
Periodontal disease is classified into two forms, primary and deep periodontal disease. The latter is the main form of periodontal disease and has greater consequences. Primary periodontal disease is also called simply gum disease. Treating primary periodontal diseases has major consequences for the oral cavity, which is the lower area of the mouth. The periodontal pocket is the hollow part of the gums that covers the tooth bone.
Primary periodontal disease is a multifactorial disease that begins with the buildup of plaque along the gum line. The plaque contains many tiny fungi that decompose the sugars in the saliva. The sugars enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation of the gums. Inflammation of the gums progresses to xerosis, which is the loosening of the gums. Xerosis is the main cause of loosening of the gums. When the gums are loose, they do not protect the tooth roots and become exposed. This makes the teeth susceptible to decay and become one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
Patients suffering from periodontitis have compromised immunity, so they are more prone to infections. The immune system is also not properly functioning in this case, as the body does not produce enough antibodies to fight off invading organisms.
It is important to treat the primary form of periodontal disease as early as possible. The earlier the disease is treated, the lesser chance of the infection spreading and causing more damage. If the infection is left untreated, it can progress into periodontal cancer and other forms of infection that can spread to the bones and the heart.
Many patients with gum disease find it hard to practice good oral hygiene because of the pain and discomfort. However, taking care of your teeth by brushing and flossing everyday can prevent the disease from progressing.
There are several products available today that offer a safer and more effective way to take care of your teeth. Some of these products include:
* Mouth wash – many of them are more effective than the regular toothpaste, mouth rinse, and mints that you use to get rid of the bacteria. Some of them, like Xylitol and Xyla toothpaste can actually fight bacteria and prevent gum disease from developing.
* Tooth brush – they are effective because you groom your teeth with them to get rid of any bacteria or plaque that could form. Some are disposable and can be taken anywhere. Others are rechargeable, so you know they are working when you brush your teeth and don’t have to worry about buying another one.
* Floss – you can use them to clean between your teeth, around the bases of the teeth and also under your gum line. They are easy to use and can prevent gum disease from developing.
* Oral rinses – these are an alternative to mouth wash. They are designed to help you to get rid of the bacteria and other particles that are on your tongue and in your throat. Some also contain essential oils, which can help to protect your teeth.
Some of these products are good because they provide a controlled environment for bacteria and/or plaque to grow and develop. Many of these products should be used twice daily. However, others should be used one or two times per day.
It is important to realize that plaque is only a concern for adults and teenagers. It is not really a concern for children ages 11 to 13. While these can cause teeth decay and gum disease, there are ways that you can take care of them too.
Keep the bacteria below the gum line – Flossing can help to remove the bacteria below the gum line. This can prevent the onset of gingivitis. It can also protect the roots of your teeth from bacteria.
Rinse your mouth immediately after eating food – Even if you brush your teeth, the food can build up on your teeth and in between your teeth. Rinsing your mouth immediately after eating will remove all the food that is below the gum line. Rinsing can also clean between your teeth. This can prevent the formation of plaque and bacteria.
Use a mouthwash – It can be very effective at keeping the bacteria below the gum line and in between your teeth. Using a mouthwash like Scope is one of the best ways to keep the bacteria below the gum line.
Use a cleaning agent – For more severe bacterial and plaque buildup above the gum line, use mineral oil, activated carbon or hydrofluoric acid.
For professional treatment of gum disease, we recommend: