Gum Disease

Gum diseases can cause a variety of problems including adult tooth loss. These problems often build over time, and there is always the possibility of developing an infection in the tissues surrounding either row of teeth. Many gum diseases may be present without the person actually knowing that a problem exists. Part of the reason for this is that many gum diseases do not cause any pain. For example, many periodontal disorders begin when plaque builds up around the base of the teeth. In addition, bacteria that builds up on the body of a tooth can also contribute to gum disease.

Learn how to recognize various signs of the early stages of gum diseases:

  • Bleeding, swollen, tender or inflamed gums.
  • Receding gum lines that fall away from the base of the tooth.
  • Foul breath that persists even after brushing the teeth.
  • A bad taste in the mouth.
  • Loose or maladjusted teeth.
  • Changes in the spacing between various teeth.

It is possible to avoid many of the most severe forms of gum disease by doing the following:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Reduce or eliminate tobacco products.
  • Visit a dentist for regular check-ups.
  • Monitor the intake of various medications including cancer medications, contraceptives, calcium channel blockers and steroids.

Preventing Gum Disease

Periodontal Disease ChartPrevention is still the best available health program, and this is also true for oral health. Early stages of gum disease can be avoided with proper education and early detection. Gingivitis is a good example of a stage of gum disease that can be prevented if it is detected and treated early. Common signs of gingivitis include inflamed, swollen or bleeding gums. When these signs appear, it is usually possible to reverse the process by going to see a dentist right away.

Periodontitis is the clinical name for gum disease in its advanced stages. This condition afflicts approximately 47 percent of the adults within the United States who are over 30. This can turn into a serious condition if it is allowed to continue over long periods of time without treatment. Symptoms include bone loss around the teeth and a reduction in the supporting tissues around the teeth. This can cause the teeth to start moving around inside of the mouth. This condition generally develops slowly, but it can suddenly accelerate.

Prevention, a Pound of Cure

There is also an advanced form of periodontitis that afflicts healthy people. Symptoms include loss of supporting tissues around the teeth, bone loss and the spreading of these conditions through the entire mouth. Researchers assert that there is a strong connection between periodontal disease and other systemic conditions, but this correlation has not been completely established at this time.

Not enough evidence is currently available to draw a direct connection between advanced forms of gum disease and other conditions involving the heart or brain. Regular dental examinations can detect these conditions before the ailment becomes severe. It is also important to receive accurate preventative information on oral hygiene. This includes daily brushing, flossing and a nutrition-rich diet.


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