Gum Disease: It’s Causes, Symptoms, and Health Risks

Gum disease is more widespread than we realize. According to studies, 19 out of 20 people have this disease at some time in their life, making it the most prevalent illness in the whole world. This ailment begins with a bacterial infection of the gum tissues that grows in your mouth. It is a serious condition that may lead to tooth loss due to the destruction of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. Gum disease can start as gingivitis and can develop into periodontitis.

Gingivitis:

This condition is the inflammation of the gum tissue because of the plaque or tartar build up around the gumline. Gingivitis can be treated; however, if this condition is ignored, it can lead to periodontitis which is a far more serious type of gum disease. If you believe that you have this condition, you may suffer from any of the following symptoms:

  • Swollen, soft, puffy, or receding gums
  • Occasionally tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • A change in color of your gums from healthy pink to red
  • Bad breath

Periodontitis:

this condition occurs when the inflammation has developed and it starts to destroy the bones supporting the tooth. If left untreated, this syndrome can lead to tooth loss. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Swollen, bright red or purplish gums
  • Tender gums
  • New spaces developing in between your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • The teeth don't fit together the way it did before

What Can Cause Gum Disease?

Hormonal Changes: This applies to pregnant women, and individual who are going through puberty, menopause, or monthly menstruation. These events can cause changes in hormones which can make the gum more sensitive; thus making it easy for gingivitis to develop.

Medications: There are certain medications that can affect oral health. For instance, there are oral medicines that lessen the flow of saliva that protects the teeth and gums. There are also anticonvulsant and anti-angina drugs that can cause abnormal growth of the gum tissue.

Poor oral hygiene: Failing to brush and floss on a daily basis can also lead to the development of gingivitis.

Illness: There are certain health conditions that can affect your gums, such as cancer or HIV. Another health condition that can affect the gums is diabetes since it affects the body's ability to use blood sugar. Diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing periodontal diseases and cavities.

Health Complications Caused By Gum Disease

When a person suffers from gingivitis, he/she have oral bacteria. If this bacteria escapes into the bloodstream and injure major organs, it can lead to further health complications. Additionally, inflammation is another reason why other complications start to arise due to this condition.

  1. Heart Disease And Stroke: According to studies, gum disease increases the person's risk of this heart condition because of the developing bacteria in the mouth. Another reason is the inflammation in the gums which may create a chronic swelling reaction in other parts of the body; thus increases the possibility of heart disease and stroke.
  2. Diabetes: Patients with diabetes suffer from gingivitis or periodontitis due to high blood glucose. For this reason, diabetic patients need to focus on their oral hygiene to ensure the prevention of these health complications. The patient must also observe regular dental check-up and cleanings.
  3. Chronic Kidney Disease: If gingivitis becomes severe, the person may lose all of his/her natural teeth. This will then make them more vulnerable to have chronic kidney disease (CKD), than those individuals with natural teeth. CKD will then potentially cause other health hazards, including heart disease, kidney failure, and may affect bone health.

Treatment For Gum Disease

There are different treatment options for this oral health condition. For one, the dentist may simply remove the plaque and calculus through the process called scaling. Another method is by giving medications, such as chlorhexidine gluconate, which is a mouth wash prescribed by many dentists. This mouth rinse will help eliminate the microbes in the mouth. Lastly, a surgical procedure may be necessary for severe periodontitis. This process can help stop or reduce the development of this oral health condition. Surgery can also be used to help replace the bone that was damaged or lost due to this oral condition.

Image Credit: maen cg / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kris Lim is a writer for oral health magazines and websites where she writes about the different oral health conditions, such as gum disease. She also offers her thoughts and advice to dental clinics and websites, including burleydentist.com.


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