What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as Periodontal Disease, is an inflammation of the gums – the earliest stage of gum disease and easiest to treat. The direct cause of this disease is plaque – a viscous, colorless film of bacteria that forms constantly in the teeth and gums.
If plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing daily, it produces toxins (acids) that irritate causing gingivitis. At this early stage of disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that holds the teeth in place have not yet been reached. However, if gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis and cause permanent damage to the teeth.
How do I know that I have gum disease?
The classic symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen and sensitive gums that can bleed during brushing. Another symptom of the disease is the retreat or retraction of the gum, giving the teeth an elongated appearance. It can form pockets between the teeth and the gum, where food and plaque remains. Some people have frequent bad breath or feel a bad taste in the mouth, even if the disease is not at an advanced stage.
How can I prevent?
Good oral hygiene is essential. Professional cleaning is also extremely important because once the plaque builds up and hardens (or becomes tartar)and only the dentist can remove it.
You can prevent in the following ways:
Correct brushing and proper use of dental floss to remove plaque and food debris and control of the appearance of tartar;
Correct feeding to ensure proper nutrition;
Avoid cigarettes and other forms of tobacco;
Go to the dentist regularly.
Who gets gum disease?
People usually don’t show signs of gum disease until they are in their 30s or 40s. Men are more likely to have gum disease than women. Although teenagers rarely develop periodontitis, they can develop gingivitis. Most commonly, gum disease develops when plaque is allowed to build up along and under the gum line.