Periodontal disease is a common yet very formidable condition that can lead to dire consequences. Despite being a prevailing oral condition, our knowledge about the disease, its symptoms and management is limited. Knowing that gum health is crucial for maintaining overall oral health, we are providing below a brief guide to the gum disease, its usual symptoms as well as methods to prevent and treat it.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a gum infection that begins with the destruction of the gum tissue. If not intercepted at an early stage, it progresses to destroy the jaw bone with eventual loosening and loss of teeth. The stage at which the disease presents might vary in different individuals. Each form is caused due to the same factors, with gingivitis being the mildest form that might lead to periodontitis if the initial symptoms are ignored.
What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Both gingivitis and periodontitis share the symptoms and disease process. Although some symptoms are subtle and thereby easily ignored, various symptoms may point towards the disease process:
- Consistently swollen, red gums
- Bleeding gums after brushing
- persistent bad breath
- development of narrow gap between teeth and gums
- loosening or shifting of teeth
- Receding gums
- teeth sensitivity without any apparent decay
Treatment of Gum Diseases
Gum disease should be recognised and treated at the earliest to maintain our teeth and oral functions. This can be achieved by:
Full-Mouth Cleaning and Polishing:
This is the first and most essential step in healing those gums. The treatment aims to control the infection and prevent any further build-up. Your hygienist or dentist will employ special instruments called Ultrasonic scalers to remove the tartar build-up and deposits from your teeth.This is followed by a polishing procedure, whereby a high-standard polishing material is used to make the tooth surfaces smooth and hinder redeposition by bacterial agents.
If the infection is severe then the dental professional may recommend surgical procedures to cover up those exposed teeth and prevent bone loss. This can include:
LASER-assisted gum therapy: A painless and highly specialised procedure that helps to eliminate infection and thus preserves the tooth structure.
LASER-assisted new attachment procedure: LNAP helps in recovering the gums from microbial damages.
»Gingival Flap surgeries are aimed at disinfecting the periodontal tissues and making them regain health.
Top Hygiene Measures to prevent gum disease
REGULAR DENTAL CLEANINGS
Opt for routine dental check-ups and cleanings every six months. Your hygienist or dentist can easily detect early signs of gum disease before any serious symptoms show up. Additionally, go for regular dental cleanings as they are the only method to remove tartar build-up. These cleanings also help reduce inflammation in gums and remove harmful bacteria- aiding in reversing the onset of gum troubles.
Smoking is associated with the onset of gum infections and it weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight that infection. Further, remember that any smoker will have delayed and slow healing as compared to his healthy counterparts.
USE A THERAPEUTIC MOUTHWASH AND FLOSS
Therapeutic mouthwashes are great to prevent gum infection and plaque accumulation. Swishing it around the mouth helps remove the food debris between your teeth and from hard to reach areas. It can also assist in the reduction of plaque and gingivitis.
WATCH YOUR DIET
Changing your diet can go a long way in easing your gum troubles. Sticky or processed food is easier to break down by the bacteria in your mouth, resulting in faster plaque formation. Veggies like spinach and kale, on the other hand, are packed with vitamin C that helps reduce inflammation in your gums and promote healing. Onions also have antibacterial properties which help protect your gums.
SCRUB THAT TONGUE
Not only your teeth and gums but your tongue also harbours bacteria, and it is the prime cause of bad breath. So, giving a gentle cleaning to your tongue with a soft-bristled brush is as essential as your routine dental care.
Periodontal disease is a preventable gum infection, provided we adhere to the above few measures. All said and done, one must be on the watch for any early signs of the disease and initiate the treatment if needed. An early start of the management will ensure that your treatment plan yields satisfactory and rehabilitating results. Awareness about this disease and its management is imperative for you to have a beautiful and strong smile.