Gum disease is caused by plaque, just like tooth decay. If the plaque isn't removed
with brushing, flossing or a mouthrinse, it can get under the gum line and attack
the gums, making them red and puffy. You may also notice some bleeding when you
brush your teeth.
If left, gum disease can cause serious problems. The gum may start to loosen come
away from the tooth, creating 'pockets' around the teeth it where even more plaque
can gather. Over time, the plaque will begin eating away at the bone that supports
the tooth, which may mean you have to have that tooth removed.
Types of gum diseases:
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become
red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this
stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible
with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread
and grow below the gum line.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.
There are many forms of periodontitis. The most common ones include the following.
Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically
healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and
Chronic periodontitis This is the most frequently occurring form
of periodontitis and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the
gingiva. It is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment
loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.
Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases often begins
at a young age. Systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease,
and diabetes are associated with this form of periodontitis.
Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized by
necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. These lesions
are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions such as HIV infection,
malnutrition and immunosuppression.
Gum disease is very common in India, with most adults suffering some form of it,
but it is very simple to prevent.
Here are some top tips:
Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you pay special
attention to the gum line too.
Stop smoking. It makes gum disease even worse.
The IDA recommends that you visit your dentist regularly. They will be able to spot
gum disease early on and give you advice on how best to brush your teeth and the
best way to floss.