Dentists are concerned with the health of our gums as much as they are concerned with our teeth. Bad dental hygiene, failure to brush, floss and use mouthwash every day, will raise the risk not only of tooth decay but also of gum infections. These gum infections can be quite serious.
Gum infection generally fall into two categories, Gingivitis and Periodontitis (Periodontal Disease). Both are serious, but periodontitis, which can develop from untreated Gingivitis, is far worse.
Symptoms of Gum Disease include:
– Dark red or faded pink gum. Sometimes gums go a deep purple.
– Bleeding gums
– Sore gums
– Gums that recede from the root of the tooth.
– Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
– Persistant bad breath
Gingivitis is the more common type of gum disease. It is caused by bacteria infecting the gum, usually because the teeth and not being cleaned every day.
Gingivitis is painful, but it will clear up after a few weeks of regular brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash. A healthy diet will also help the body fight the infection.
Periodontal Disease is a more serious infection. If often develops from Gingivitis that has not been left untreated. It is not only a more severe infection, it also involves a different, more persistent, strain of bacteria.
Periodontal Disease will soon lead to loss of bone in the jaw, followed by loss of teeth. This damage is not reversible. Even after the disease is treated the patient will need surgery to replace the lost teeth, and to help restore the badly damaged gums.
Periodontal Disease will not clear up on its own. It requires serious dental treatment, including antibiotics. Often the dentist will sent a patient with Periodontal Disease to a specialist for full treatment.
Periodontal Disease can only be cured if caught in the very early stages. After it has spread the infection can never be fully removed, only managed by ongoing use of prescription mouthwash and diligent cleaning.
If is estimated that perhaps 40% of the western population over 50 has Periodontal disease, which must be constantly managed.
Good dental hygiene greatly reduces the change of contracting Gum Diseases. Twice daily brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash will prevent a lot of inconvenience.