Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is a serious infection of the gums which could lead to the destruction of the soft tissue and potentially the bones that support the teeth. The disease is most often caused by bacteria, but can also be the result of a viral infection. Though it is preventable, it is quite common due to poor dental hygiene. The best way to prevent the onset of the disease is by brushing twice daily and flossing, as well as getting regular dental checkups in case the disease has already started developing. Catching the disease early is key to successfully recovering from it.
If you think you might be suffering from gum disease we recommend visiting a professional as soon as possible in order to maximise your chances of recovery. These Dentist in Lahore are great options for those of you living within that city.
Periodontitis and Gingivitis
These terms are not interchangeable, though periodontitis may arise due to gingivitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums, and most people will experience it in some form over the course of their lives, with its symptoms being so mild that they can usually be ignored or treated with good dental hygiene practices.
The early stages of gingivitis entail a build up of bacteria in plaque, causing inflammation in the gums which makes them bleed easily during brushing. Bacteria then release acids that break down the enamel protecting teeth. If plaque is not properly cleaned, it can result in the production of tartar which is hard to break down, making it harder to clean teeth and gums, further aggravating their condition.
Once this progresses further, a person will develop periodontitis which results in the inner layer of gum and bone pulling away from the teeth, forming pockets that can trap more food and bacteria. Enzymes produced by the body as a consequence of inflammation and bacteria start to break down connective tissue and bone under the gums within these pockets. This breakdown will eventually lead to the teeth loosening and falling away from the gums. Gum disease is, hence, the leading cause of tooth loss within adults.
Though poor dental hygiene and plaque are the primary causes of the development of gum disease, these are not the only causes. Others include:
- Hormonal Imbalance: Changes in the body’s regular hormonal levels due to pregnancy, puberty, menopause and other causes can result in weaker gums which make it easier for gum disease to occur.
- Drug Consumption: Smoking and alcohol consumption make it difficult for the gums to heal.
- Illnesses: A weakened immune system, due to HIV or some other illness, or diabetes could impair the body’s ability to repair itself or respond to bacterial infection.
- Genetic Predisposition: A family history of the disease may put you at greater risk of developing it yourself.
Apart from regular dental hygiene practices mentioned earlier, there are some other steps you can take to prevent development of the disease. Stopping smoking is a great way to reduce damage to your gums. Reducing stress levels can also bolster your immune system. If you do not maintain a healthy diet you might be at greater risk. Avoiding too much consumption of sugars and starch, while increasing the intake of antioxidants like vitamins C and E will help your gums heal or avoid being damaged in the first place. Grinding your teeth may also weaken gums and connective tissue, so curtailing that may help.
If you require a dentist appointment, these Best Dentist in Islamabad are great options.