Gum disease is commonly caused by poor oral hygiene. When teeth are not regularly brushed and flossed, plaque builds up on their surface. Plaque left on the teeth hardens, forming tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. This is why it is important to have your teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year. Only a trained dental professional can remove tartar.
When tartar is left on the teeth for a long time, it becomes very harmful to the gums. Your mouth always contains bacteria, but it can be controlled by good oral hygiene. When the bacteria are not controlled, it causes inflammation of the gums called gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis are red and swollen gums that bleed easily, but it does not result in loss of bone or connective tissue. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease and may be reversed by our specialist.
Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that may develop if gingivitis is not treated. Periodontitis means inflammation around the tooth, and it makes the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These pockets are hiding places for bacteria and may develop infection. While the bacterial toxins grow and the body tries to fight the disease, the result is the breakdown of the bone and connective tissue that holds the teeth in place. If periodontitis is not treated, the result may be disastrous for your health. The teeth can become loose and need to be removed.
Fortunately, gum disease is easy to avoid with a little oral care and attention to some risk factors. Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for developing gum disease and can reduce the chances of a successful treatment.
Women should be more attentive at times when they experience hormonal changes such as pregnancy, menstruation and menopause because the gums are more sensitive at these times. People who have diabetes are at risk of developing any infection, including gum disease. Some treatments for cancer may put you at higher risk of developing gum disease.
Certain medications can put you at higher risk because they inhibit the flow of saliva that protects the teeth and gums from bacteria. Without enough saliva, the gums may be vulnerable to infection. Genetics is another risk factor because if your parents or grandparents had gum disease, there is a good chance you will too.
The main symptoms of gum disease are:
• Red and swollen gums
• Bad breath that cannot be removed with brushing and mouthwash
• Pain while chewing
• Bleeding when flossing
• Sensitive or loose teeth
• Receding gums that make the teeth look longer
If you have any of the above symptoms, it is important to visit the office of Dr. Latha Subramanian, DDS to see if you have gum disease. It is much easier to cure if it is diagnosed early. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Mountain View.