Gingivitis and periodontitis both refer to a spectrum of gum diseases, usually caused by oral bacterial growth. Gum diseases are often undetected to the individuals until signs such as gum bleeding, swellings or shrinkages appear. Other symptoms include bad tastes or bad breath, and teeth drifting, such as your front teeth moving forward.
Bacterial plaque, a biofilm of bacteria that grows on surfaces within the mouth, is the primary offender in gum disease progression. Plaque builds up after every meal, and can be mechanically removed by daily toothbrushing and flossing. However, when plaque is left on tooth surfaces for long enough, it starts to irritate the gums and cause gum inflammation. When plaque hardens into tartar (also known as calculus), it becomes very difficult to brush off. This further worsens gum disease.
Host factors, such as general diseases, narcotics or smoking, can also have detrimental effects on gum health. Inadequate brushing techniques or lack of flossing can further worsen gum inflammation.
Gum diseases do not heal on their own and only worsen over time. The main focus of gum disease treatment at Elwood Family Dentist is to remove plaque thoroughly so that your gums have a chance to heal instead of being inflamed all the time. Periodontal therapy is aimed at the reduction of oral bacteria and may take the form of regular dental cleans together with adequate oral hygiene home care.
Certain lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, reducing your stress and maintaining a balanced diet can help your body repair damaged tissue and reduce the severity of your gum diseases.
If periodontitis is left untreated, it will worsen and lead to severe gum infections. Teeth will become loose over time and eventually fall out. People with gum disease also have 2.5x the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event. It is therefore crucial to have your gum diseases treated as early as possible to minimise long term damages to your teeth, gums and the rest of your body.