Gum disease

"Gum disease begins with plaque depositing on your teeth, without you being aware of it."

Our mouth is full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with saliva and other food particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless "plaque" on teeth. Proper brushing and flossing can remove plaque. When it accumulates to excessive levels and is not removed, it can harden into a substance called tartar (calculus) in as little as few days. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

"Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two main stages of gum disease."


Inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria is called as ‘gingivitis’. In this condition the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily, often during tooth brushing. Daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist, could be all that is needed to prevent gum disease and can actually reverse the early stages of the disease and help you keep your teeth for a lifetime. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.


If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to inflammation around the tooth and is called ‘Periodontitis’. In Periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth (recede) and form ‘pockets’ that are infected. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that result in major damage to the bones, gums, and connective tissue that support the teeth. In advanced cases the teeth eventually become loose and have to be removed.

Who can get Gum Disease (Risk Factors)?

Plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease, but some other factors can increase the risk and severity of gum disease. They are:

Smoking It is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum diseases. Smoking can lower the chances of success in some treatments. The percentage of periodontitis in smokers is seven times more than in nonsmokers.

Hormonal changes in girls/women. Hormonal changes make gums sensitive and easier for gum diseases to develop.

Grinding teeth -- Due to excess force on the teeth, the rate of destruction of the supporting tissues of the teeth increases. Diabetes Diabetic patients are at higher risk for developing periodontal disease because they are more prone to get infections.

Medications Some drugs like anti-depressants, anti-convulsion and some anti-angina medicines, reduces the amount of saliva flow and this can affect your oral health as saliva plays a protective role on teeth and gums.

Periodontal disease can cause health problems:

There is a cause-and-effect relationship between periodontal disease and general health:

• An increased risk of heart attack,

• An increased risk of stroke,

• An increased risk of low birth-weight and premature babies,

• An increased difficulty in controlling diabetes.

Signs and Symptoms:

The symptoms of periodontal disease often are not obvious; but the condition is not entirely without warning signs. Few symptoms include:

• Tender, swollen, or red gums

• Gums bleed during and after tooth brushing

• Gum recession

• Bad odor / halitosis or bad taste in the mouth

• Deep pockets are formed between teeth and gums

• Loosening and shifting of teeth

• Gums bleed during and after tooth brushing

• Gum recession

• Sensitivity or Pain in teeth due to exposure of the roots by gum disease

Some degree of gum diseases persists without any symptoms and some individuals have gum disease only around few teeth such as the back teeth, which they can't see. Only a dentist or a periodontist can recognize and determine the sequence of gum disease.


• Your gums are checked for swelling, bleeding and firmness.

• The teeth are checked for mobility and sensitivity.

• Assessment of your bite is done.

• Full-mouth X-rays (OPG) can help to detect bone loss surrounding your teeth.

Prevention of gum diseases

• Brush your teeth twice a day

• Floss every day

• Visit your dentist regularly for a check-up and professional cleaning

• Eat a well balanced diet


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