Wake Forest dentist discusses common causes of gum disease and treatment options
While straight, vibrantly white teeth are often the hallmark of a beautiful smile, they aren’t the only important factor. Your gums play a vital role in the appearance and health of your smile. While healthy gums should look pink and firm, gum inflammation and disease can cause the gums to appear red and swollen. In addition, gum disease can lead to other symptoms such as loose teeth, tooth loss, and an increased risk of other serious health concerns. In the following article, Dr. Suh of Supremia Dentistry in Wake Forest, will explain the common causes of gum disease and the different treatments available to restore oral health.
Explaining Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection that affects millions of Americans and can have potentially serious implications to oral health and the health of the body as a whole. It’s estimated that over half of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Having bacteria naturally occurring in the mouth is normal, however an overabundance can cause problems. When food particles, especially carbohydrates consisting of sugars and starches, are not effectively removed from the mouth it turns into a buildup of a sticky substance called plaque. The plaque coats the teeth like a film and becomes problematic because the bacteria will thrive and use the sugars in the food to produce acid that will eventually lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
The effect of gum disease on your health
Gums play an important role in protecting the tooth root and holding teeth firmly in place. When the integrity of the gums becomes compromised by gum disease, it can have devasting effects on oral health. In its earliest stage, gingivitis, gum inflammation may lead to soreness or bleeding while brushing but can usually be reversed through treatment. When gum disease progresses, the soft tissue will begin to separate from the teeth, forming pockets where bacteria can continue to accumulate and erode the gums and bone. At this stage, patients often experience pain, sensitivity, loose teeth, and eventually, tooth loss. And the problems don’t stop there. Gum disease has been linked to other systemic health conditions, increasing the risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Causes of gum disease
The number one cause of gum disease is plaque buildup in the mouth due to inadequate oral hygiene. However, there are certain factors that can put an individual at a higher risk of developing gum disease.
Age – The older you are, the more likely you are to develop gum disease.
Smoking / Tobacco Use – Individuals who smoke or use tobaccos products have higher rates of gum disease.
Genetics – If you have a family history of gum disease, you may be more likely to develop it yourself.
Stress – Stress can take a toll on the immune system’s ability to fight off infection.
Bruxism – The extra pressure of grinding teeth puts stress on the gums which can advances the progression of gum disease.
Treatments for gum disease
Treating gum disease depends on the health of the individual and how far advanced it’s become. Gingivitis, the mildest form of the disease, can often be treated with a deep cleaning and improved oral hygiene habits. Advanced periodontitis may require more invasive or powerful treatments.
Your treatment plan for gum disease may include one or more of the following:
Scaling and Root Planing- A deep cleaning that addresses plaque and tartar build up in pockets around the teeth and smooths the surfaces of the teeth roots to encourage gum tissue reattachment.
Antibiotics – Gum disease is an infection and may require oral or topical antibiotics to allow the tissue to heal.
Gum Surgery – If the disease has advanced enough to cause deep pockets, gum surgery may be required to reduce the pockets and tissue grafting may be necessary.
Restorative Treatment – Advanced gum disease often leads to tooth loss, which means restorative treatments such as dental implants will be needed to restore the smile.
If you have some of the most common signs of gum disease such as red, inflamed gums, bleeding while brushing, chronic bad breath, or your teeth appear elongated, call Supremia Dentistry today at 919 556 6200 to schedule an evaluation.