Gum disease is a broad term that we tend to use when there is any level of inflammation within the gums, which could be caused due to many reasons. Small signs such as swelling, redness and bleeding from the gums are indicative of active gum disease, which we’ll go into more detail below. Our dentists at Wyndham Dental will help you understand your dental problems and what’s causing them before we treat them.
Any form of inflammation in the gums is known as gingivitis, and if that progresses into the underlying supporting tissues of the teeth and alveolar (jaw) bones, it is then termed periodontitis, which is more severe in nature. From a lack of good oral hygiene to severe inflammatory conditions, the causes can vary!
Here are a few reasons why you could be suffering from gum disease.
How do all these cause gum disease, one might wonder? The link between poor oral hygiene and gingivitis is quite direct. As with plaque, calculus and tartar, there is a direct effect on the gums to be irritated and in turn, to swell and convert into gingivitis. Plaque carries bacteria naturally but with the intake of foods especially sugary, the bacteria rapidly begin to feed upon and process the sugar, releasing acids as their byproducts.
The result is swelling in the areas of high plaque and calculus accumulation, and sometimes even overgrowth of the gums in areas that are not cleaned daily or at all! Crooked teeth are usually difficult to clean with a toothbrush alone, so lack of flossing and mouthwash use also leads to localised swelling of the gingivae around the crooked teeth.
Anything that causes Xerostomia or dryness in the mouth, such as drugs, smoking cigarettes and even simple mouth breathing can easily lead to gingivitis. This is because the necessary amount of saliva is not being produced, which is needed to wash away flourishing bacteria and neutralise the pH in the mouth, thus generalised gingivitis results. Drinking water and keeping yourself hydrated can help, but sometimes you may need to talk to a dentist if the problem persists.
Certain systemic conditions, such as the fluctuations of hormones in the body during pregnancy, and insulin resistance in the form of Diabetes Mellitus, have a major link to gum disease. Pregnant women undergo pregnancy-induced Gingival Hyperplasia, which is severe swelling of the gums due to massive changes in hormone levels throughout their term.
Patients with Diabetes Mellitus have a higher level of sugar in their bloodstream, which creates a far friendlier environment in the mouth for bacteria to flourish as the soft tissues in the mouth are so richly supplied with blood, especially the gums. Therefore, they produce their harmful acids at a far higher rate and colonise, leading to swelling in the gums generally and in localised areas that are more susceptible. Some patients with epilepsy also may suffer from drug-induced gingivitis, as anti-epileptic medications bring about that side effect.
Sometimes, a gingival abscess or localised spot of severe inflammation could occur, due to an infected tooth, making dental decay an accessory to gum disease as well! It is like a swollen, pus-filled bump that forms in your mouth or gums when a bacterial infection takes hold. It is best to see a dentist ASAP if you experience any throbbing pain, swelling or even a bad taste in your mouth.
It is common knowledge that the lack of Vitamin C causes a certain disease of excessively bleeding gums, known as “scurvy”. Vitamin C is not only crucial for maintaining good immunity and health, it plays a vital role in the production of collagen, a compound necessary for maintaining elasticity in the skin and the gums alike. The lack of vitamin C leads to easy breakdown of the tissue and bleeding upon the slightest pressure, along with inflammation.
Treatment of gum disease can vary according to your smile and in its most severe cases, you may see the need for surgery. However, here are some of the treatments we offer and lifestyle changes you’ll have to make when diagnosed with this condition:
In case of excessive accumulation of calcified plaque, known as calculus, it is important to consult us to have it removed and treated at your earliest. Scaling is the most effective dental procedure for the removal of calculus and tartar, which has accumulated in areas that cannot be accessed using a toothbrush or even floss.
Scaling and root planning can help restore the health and integrity of the gums and can prevent any further complications which may include gum recession leading to tooth mobility, a result of advanced periodontal disease.
Using toothpastes and mouth washes is essential in order to maintain good oral hygiene conditions. To prevent and treat gum diseases, toothpastes containing fluoride must be used to help in eliminating bacteria. Flossing is very important because brushing alone cannot remove plaque and food debris that may have accumulated in the inter-dental spaces. It is usually the inter-dental and sub-gingival (below gum level) plaque that causes the development of gum diseases. It is for this reason that brushing along with regular flossing is considered the ideal method of maintaining good oral and dental health.
In order to prevent the development of gum diseases, it is important to quit smoking, which also has a major impact on all internal organs of your body affecting your general health!
At Wyndham Dental, we want to help educate you regarding good oral and general health, because sometimes this is all you need to prevent serious complications like gum disease in your smile from arising. So drop by for a consultation with our amazing team of Werribee dentists and dental hygienists to improve your dental health and your smile!