Mouth is the window to the body. Gum disease is a common problem, and is often why people lose their teeth. Gum disease also known periodontitis- is a bacterial infection which affects 40% of adults across the world and which can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease is extremely common and affects 3 out of every 4 adults over the age of 35 in the UK. Gum disease, not tooth decay, is the biggest cause of tooth loss. Only 60% of women in the UK aged 45 can claim to have all their own teeth. Gum disease isnt just something that happens later in life, more than half of teenagers have some form of gum disease. Smoking causes 50% of all cases of gum disease in the UK. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Most commonly, gum disease develops when plaque is allowed to build up along and under the gum line.
Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gum disease prevention is not very difficult and typically involves little more than eating a good, healthy diet and maintaining good oral hygiene practices. It is especially important to brush and floss daily in order to remove plaque. In the early stage of gingivitis, the gums can become red and swollen and bleed easily, often during toothbrushing. Bleeding, although not always a symptom of gingivitis, is a signal that your mouth is unhealthy and needs attention. The gums may be irritated, but the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage. Gums are tight against the teeth and have pink tips. Pockets that measure 3 millimeters to 5 millimeters indicate signs of disease. Tartar may be progressing below the gumline and some bone loss could be evident. Pockets that are 5 millimeters or deeper indicate a serious condition that usually includes receding gums and a greater degree of bone loss.
Gum disease affects the tissues that surround and support your teeth. The cause is bacteria, which can turn into tartar and plaque buildup, irritate your gums and lead to bleeding and receding gums. Girls have a higher risk of gum disease than guys. Increases in female hormones during puberty can make girls’ gums more sensitive to irritation. Some girls may notice that their gums bleed a bit in the days before their periods. Hormonal changes in girls/women. These changes can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop. Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including periodontal disease. Medications. Some drugs, such as antidepressants and some heart medicines, can affect oral health because they lessen the flow of saliva. Genetic susceptibility. Some people are more prone to severe periodontal disease than others.
Gum disease and Prevention Tips
1. Brush twice a day for at least 3 minutes each time (about the length of your favorite song), and floss daily.
2. Always brush with a toothpaste that contains fluoride; some dentists also recommend daily mouth rinses containing fluoride.
3. Use a toothbrush with soft, polished bristles, as these are less likely to irritate or injure gum tissue.
4. Eat a healthy diet. Avoid snacks and junk foods packed with sugar that plaque-causing bacteria love to feed on.
5. Don’t smoke! Cigarettes and chewing tobacco cause mouth irritation and are very unhealthy for gums and teeth.
6. Regular dental care is extremely important in helping to keep your mouth healthy.