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All About Gum Disease: Types, Risk Factors, Symptoms and Prevention

Gum disease is caused by particles, mucus and bacteria in the mouth forming a colorless, sticky plaque on the surface and in between each tooth. Flossing and brushing helps get rid of plaque. If not, tartar, or a hardened form of plaque that won’t be reduced by mere brushing is the result. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning by a hygienist or a dentist. Mainly, a long period of time between teeth cleaning can cause the eventual formation and development of gum disease. Taking the right measures of prevention will go along way towards keeping your mouth healthy and free of every type of gum disease.

If you happen to be going through gum disease of one type or another, you are not along. Disease of the gums range from serious diseases that results in further bone and soft tissue damage to simple inflammation of the gums. The worst case scenario involves the loss of teeth. Whether the disease of your gums have gotten worse, slowed down or stopped altogether depends on how carefully you have taken care of your gums and teeth each and every day.

Types of Gum Disease
When it comes to gingivitis or gum disease, there are two different types. Keep in mind that untreated gingivitis can later lead to health problems such as tooth loss.

Periodontitis
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis. Plaque can begin to grow below the line of the gums and spread throughout the interior gum line with time. In plaque, bacteria can produce toxins which can cause further gum irritation. These toxins begin stimulating a chronic response of inflammation that causes the physical body to turn against its bones, tissues and itself. This causes the destruction and breaking down of bones supporting the teeth. From the teeth, gums begin to separate and form a space between gums and teeth that can become inflamed. With the progress of the disease, there is eventual destruction of bones and gum tissues that cause deeper pockets. This process of destruction often has hard to notice symptoms. Eventually, tooth removal may be the recommendation of your dentist. There are common forms of periodontitis including necrotizing periodontal disease, periodontitis as a systemic disease manifestation, periodontitis that is chronic and periodontitis that is aggressive.

Gingivitis
The mildest periodontal disease form is called gingivitis. This causes gums to easily bleed, become swollen and red. Usually at this stage, there is little or no discomfort. Often, it is inadequate oral hygiene that causes gingivitis. With good oral home care and professional treatment, gingivitis can be reversed.

Gum Disease Risk Factors
There are many different risk factors for gum disease. Here is a list of the most common.

Genetic susceptibility – some folks more than others are more prone to severe disease of the gums

Medication – there are over the counter medications as well as prescriptions by the hundreds that are able to reduce the saliva flow. On the mouth, this has a protective effect. The mouth becomes vulnerable to gum disease and other infections when there is not enough saliva produced. Some medications can also be the cause of gum tissue abnormal overgrowth. This can cause difficulty in keeping the gums and teeth clean.

Treatments and Illness – The treatment of diseases such as AIDS as well as the disease themselves can affect gum health in a negative way. The same can be said for other diseases such as cancer.

Diabetes – There is a great risk for infections developing in people that have diabetes. This includes disease of the gums.

Women or Girls Changes in Hormones – Changes such as these in women or girls can cause greater sensitivity in gums and makes it easy for gum inflammation to occur.

Smoking – those needing another reason to stop smoking altogether should do so earlier rather than later. One of the risk factors most significantly related to gum disease development is smoking. In addition, successful treatment has less changes of occurring when smokers do not quit this deadly habit.

Treatment
Once gum disease has been detected, treatment normally starts immediately. The goal of treating gum disease has to do with encouraging the reattachments of teeth to healthy gum. It also involved stopping the progress of the disease, reducing the risks of infection and reducing the pocket depth and the swelling. Your overall health, how you response to previous treatments and what stage the disease happens to be in the moment it got detected will determine what option for treatment your dentist or periodontist will advise you to undergo.

Symptoms of Gum Disease
Even with no apparent or clear symptoms, a person may still be experience some disease of the gums. In some individuals, specific teeth may be affected such as just the molars. Only a periodontist or a dentist is able to find out if gum disease is progressing in your mouth. The diagnosis of gum disease involves going through a dental exam and getting checked for typically a few symptoms such as:

Checking your jawbone to see if there is bone surrounding your teeth that is breaking down.
Checking for the proper alignment of teeth, sensitivity and teeth movement.
Checking to see deep pockets or spaces between the teeth and gums. When the pockets are deeper or larger, this is an indication of a severe gum disease occurrence.

Prevention
With the practice of proper plaque control, gum disease can be reversed in almost every case of gum disease. A twice a year cleaning by a professional will help prevent gum disease from developing. The proper control of plaque as well as daily flossing and brushing are the key hygiene practices that will go a long way towards the prevention of gum disease. Plaque on the teeth surface is eliminated with daily brushing. Plaque and food particles that get stuck between teeth is removed by flossing. The bacteria that cause gum disease and plaque can be reduced by antibacterial mouth wash.