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What is gum disease?

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I have spoken in the past about gum disease as it relates to cardiac disease; this week I will go into more details.

A good smile is an important part of your self-esteem. Clean teeth and fresh breath are important assets for your personal life. Gum disease, mouth odour and swollen gums can destroy self-esteem. Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease.It is an infection of tissues and bones that support the teeth. {{more}}Periodontal disease or gum disease includes gingivitis and periodontitis (advanced gum disease). If not treated, it becomes very serious, causing teeth to become loose and fall out. It can affect one tooth or many teeth.

Gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is an invisible sticky layer of germs that forms naturally on teeth and gums. Plaque contains germs or bacteria which produce toxins that irritate and damage the gums.

Causes of gum disease

Smoking: People who smoke cigarettes and chew tobacco are at a greater risk of developing gum disease.

Genetics: Researchers prove that 30 per cent of individuals may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.

Pregnancy and puberty: During this particular time, the body experiences hormonal changes. There is increase in female sex hormones; these changes can affect many of the tissues in the body, including the gums and they become more sensitive to irritation. At times they react strongly to hormonal fluctuations.

Clenching or grinding of teeth: can put excess force on the supporting tissues of teeth and could speed up the rate at which the periodontal tissues are destroyed.

Diabetic: Diabetics have higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease. These infections impair the ability to process and utilize insulin.

Poor nutrition: The body’s immune system is compromised if the diet is low in important nutrients. It makes it harder for the body to fight off infections.

Braces: People who have braces are more susceptible, due to difficulty in fighting plaque because proper brushing is made more difficult.

Systemic diseases: like Down’s syndrome and AIDS also contribute to gum disease.

Signs of gum disease

1. Bleeding of gums.

2. Redness of gums (swollen or tender).

3. Signs of gums pulling away from teeth.

4. Bad breath (halitosis).

5. Loose teeth or shifting teeth.

How the disease progresses?

If a person does not practise good daily dental care, and the plaque from the teeth and gums is not removed, over time it hardens into a crust called calculus or tartar.

Once the calculus forms, it starts to destroy gum tissues, causing gums to bleed. The gums pull away from teeth.This is known as periodontitis (a more advanced form of gum disease).

Advanced periodontitis (advanced gum disease)

Once periodontitis occurs, the gums become weakened and form pockets around the roots of teeth. Bacteria or germs pool in these pockets and cause further destruction of the gums.

As periodontitis spreads, it damages the deeper gum tissues and eventually spreads to areas of the jawbone that supports the teeth. This can cause teeth to become loose and fall out.

Seasons greetings to all.
 
Dr Keith John

Email: drkeithjohn@gmail.com

Clinic: Heritage Dental

Tel: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752

 
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