Gum disease, also know as periodontal disease, is the infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease is usually painless, and you may not know you have it. That is why it is very dangerous and requires routine check ups for prevention.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a bacteria that creates toxins, which can damage the gums.
In the early stages of gum disease, know as gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and will easily bleed. At this point, the disease is still reversible and can often be eliminated by brushing and flossing.
Periodontitis, a more advanced stage of gum disease, is when the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Teeth can become loose, fall out or may have to be removed by a dentist.
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, see your dentist immediately:
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Bad breath that doesn't go away
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
Periodontitis: Unremoved, plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As plaque and calculus continue to build up, the gums begin to recede (pull away) from the teeth, and pockets form between the teeth and gums.
Advanced periodontitis: The gums recede farther, destroying more bone and the periodontal ligament. Consequently, even healthy teeth may become loose and need to be extracted.
Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth enamel. It is caused when foods with carbohydrates (sugars and starches) like as milk, soda, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. The bacteria in the mouth thrive on these foods, which produce acids when combined with these types of carbohydrates. Over time, these acids will destroy the tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss in between your teeth daily.
- Maintain a healthy diet and limit snacking.
- Consult your dentist regarding supplemental fluoride, and dental sealants which helps strengthen your teeth and prevent decay.
- Maintain regular check ups with your dentist for professional cleanings and oral examination.
Many of the foods cause bacteria, which produce acids. These are foods such as candy, cookies, starches, such as bread, crackers, and cereal, also cause acids to form. These acid attacks, can cause your teeth to decay.
Plaque also produces elements that irritate the gums, which can make them red, tender or cause bleeding. After time, the gums can pull away from the teeth causing pockets to form and fill with additional bacteria and pus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed. This can cause the teeth to become loose or have to be removed. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss for adults.
One method to avert tooth decay and gum disease is by maintaining a healthy diet and limiting the number of snacks. If you do snack, try to select nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese or fruit.
The best way to remove decay-causing plaque is by brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day.
Brush your teeth twice a day, with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth, which will allow you to reach all teeth and gums effectively. Be sure to use fluoride toothpaste, which helps protect your teeth from decay. When selecting any dental product, make sure it has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, certifying the dental product's safety and effectiveness.
Cleaning between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental cleaners helps remove plaque from between the teeth, which are regions the toothbrush is not as effective. This along with brushing is essential in preventing gum disease.
By regularly cleaning your teeth, maintaining a nutritious diet and scheduling regular visits to your dentist, you can have a lifetime of healthy teeth and an attractive smile.
Your dentist should examine any mouth sore that persists for more than a week immediately.
Leukoplakia is a thick, whitish-color patch that can form on the cheeks, gums or tongue. It is caused by excess cell growth and is common among tobacco users although it can also be caused from irritations such as ill-fitting dentures or a habit of chewing on one's cheek. The danger of leukoplakia is that it can progress to cancer. Your dentist will most likely take a biopsy if the leukoplakia appears to be threatening.
Eliminate risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol and schedule regular visits to your dentist. Periodic dental exams allow early detection and treatment if cancer develops. If you become aware of any of these signs and symptoms in your mouth, contact your dentist at once:
- Persistent sore or irritation that will not heal
- Color changes such as red and/or white lesions in the mouth
- Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Having difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
- A Change in your bite
More than fifteen percent of American adults suffer from chronic facial pain. Common symptoms include tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping, pain in or around the ear, noises when opening the mouth, or even headaches and neck aches.
Your dentist can help identify the source of the pain with a thorough examination. Many times, it's a sinus, toothache or an early stage of periodontal disease. However, for some pains, the cause is not so easily diagnosed. It could be connected to the facial muscles, the jaw or temporomandibular joint that is located in the front of the ear. Treatments for this pain can consist of muscle relaxants, exercises, or a mouth protector preventing teeth grinding. These treatments have been successful for many patients and your dentist can recommend the best for you.