Gum problems are caused by the accumulation of germs along the gum line that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth.
Signs & Symptoms
Gum problems can be painless, so it is important to be aware of any of the following symptoms:
- Gums that are tender when brushing or flossing
- Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth come together
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
- Sharp or dull pains when chewing foods
- Teeth that are overly sensitive to cold or hot temperatures
Germs in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth, cause gum problems. If plaque is not removed it can harden and turn into tartar (calculus). Additionally, dental plaque will continue to form on the tartar. Brushing or flossing cannot remove tartar; a dental professional will need to conduct a dental cleaning to remove it.
If not removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque turns into tartar, which becomes a rough and retentive surface encouraging further build up of plaque. The plaque germs can negatively affect your gums and teeth, and eventually, the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth will be impacted:
- Sensitive gums - This is the earliest stage of gum problems. It is the tenderness of the gums, caused by dental plaque buildup at the gum line. You may notice some redness or swelling of the gums, or some sensitivity during brushing and flossing. At this early stage gum problems can be reversed since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.
- If sensitive gums are left for too long , the supporting bone and fibers that hold the teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. The gums begin to form a pocket below the gum line, which encourages penetration and growth of plaque below the gum line. Professional periodontal therapy and improved personal oral hygiene can usually help prevent further damage to the gum tissue and supporting tissue and bone.
- If you have not consulted a professional or dentist, gum problems can become more advanced , he fibers and bone of your teeth are being destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and how you eat and communicate. If aggressive periodontal therapy can’t save them, teeth may need to be removed by a dental specialist. Your dentist will provide restorative options if teeth are removed due to these advanced gum problems.
Proper brushing and flossing go a long way toward keeping gum problems at bay. Using a toothpaste or mouthrinse which help fight the cause of gum problems and lessen the amount of plaque in your mouth. Removing dental plaque is the key to preventing gum problems and improving mouth health.
A professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar. By scheduling regular checkups — twice a year — early stage a gum problem can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition.
If more advanced, scaling and root planning can be performed to treat the advanced gum problem. A dental hygienist uses an ultrasonic scaling device to remove plaque, tartar and food debris above and below the gum line, and hand scales the tooth and root surfaces to clean them and make them smooth. Laser treatments are also sometimes used to remove tartar deposits. If periodontal pockets are more than 5 millimeters deep, that is, if you have moderate to severe periodontitis, gingival flap surgery may be performed by a periodontist to reduce periodontal pockets, as well as bone grafting to restore lost bone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), In the United States of America researchers have discovered potential associations between gum problems and other serious health conditions. If you have diabetes, for example, you are at higher risk of developing more serious gum problems. The CDC reports that gum problems may be connected to damage elsewhere in the body. Recent published research studies suggest an association between gum problems and conditions such as diabetes, as mentioned above, heart disease, and stroke. Further research is being conducted to examine these connections.