Gum disease is an infection of your soft tissues. If you notice that the gums bleed whenever you floss or brush, you might be exhibiting initial symptoms of periodontal disease known as gingivitis. Gingivitis could be reversed with timely and proper oral treatment. If not addressed, the condition can advance to periodontitis characterized by gum recession, deteriorated jaw bone, and loose teeth. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. The skilled dentists at La Puente Advanced Dentistry offer dental solutions which can treat periodontal disease effectively at any stage. We can also assist you in managing the condition to keep the gums and teeth healthy and restore your beautiful smile.
Introducing Gum Disease
Gum disease is also commonly known as periodontitis or periodontal disease. It is caused by bacteria growing in the mount and can result in tooth loss if not treated properly due to the destruction of tissues surrounding the teeth.
When you fail to brush your teeth and clean the difficult-to-reach areas in the mouth, the following occurs:
- The bacteria in the mouth multiply and form plaque
- If you do not remove the plaque through brushing, the bacteria deposit tartar within the plaque with time. Tartar encourages more bacterial growth toward your tooth root.
- The body immune response to the bacterial growth results in gum inflammation
- The attachment of your gum to your tooth root is affected over time, and periodontal pockets might form between your root and gum.
- Dangerous anaerobic bacteria colonize in your pocket, multiply and release toxins that can destroy your teeth, gums, and supporting bone structure.
While plaque is the leading cause of periodontitis, other factors can trigger gum diseases, including:
- Hormonal changes like those happening during menopause, menstruation, puberty, and pregnancy make gums sensitive, increasing the danger of developing the condition.
- Illnesses like HIV or cancer compromise your immune system, while diabetes affects your body’s capability to use blood glucose, increasing the possibility of contracting infections.
- Medication can affect your dental health since some reduce saliva flow (saliva protects your gums and teeth). On the other hand, medicines such as Adalat, anti-angina drug Procardia, and anticonvulsant Dilantin can lead to abnormal gum tissue growth.
- Family history of oral conditions
- Poor dental hygiene practices like not flossing and brushing daily
- Stress impairs your body’s immune response to disease invasion
- Poor nutrition like low water intake and a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar will boost plaque formation. Moreover, a deficiency of nutrients like vitamin C will hinder healing.
- Habits like drinking too alcohol, chewing tobacco, or smoking
- Overlapping, crooked or rotated teeth create more areas for calculus and plaque to accumulate and are difficult to clean
Different Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease begins as inflammation and gets worse as time passes by.
Gum disease starts with inflammation in your gums. One of the initial warnings of the condition is bleeding gums whenever you floss or brush the teeth.
Additionally, you can experience tooth discoloration. It is referred to as plaque (buildup of debris and bacteria on the tooth). While bacteria are always in your mouth, they are only dangerous when an oral condition permits them to grow significantly.
Early Periodontal Disease
In the initial stages of the condition, your gum pulls away (recedes) from the teeth, forming small pockets between teeth and gums. These pockets harbor bacteria. The immune system tries to fight the infection, and the gum tissue begins to recede. As a result, you can experience tooth bleeding during tooth flossing and brushing.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
If not treated, the condition will advance to moderate periodontal disease. The patient can experience pain around their teeth, gum recession, and bleeding. The teeth will also start becoming loose and lose their bone support.
Advanced Periodontal Disease
In the advanced stages, the connective tissue holding the teeth in place begins deteriorating. Your bones, gums, and tissues that support the teeth are damaged. You are likely to experience bad breath, bad taste in the mouth, and pain when chewing.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease can progress without pain until it advances to the final stages. While the symptoms are generally subtle, the oral condition isn’t without warning symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
- Bleeding gums after and during tooth brushing
- Bad taste in your mouth or continuous bad breath
- Swollen, red gums (Generally, healthy gums are firm and pink)
- Shifting or loose teeth
- Deep pockets between your gums and teeth
- Receding gums
- Changes in how your teeth fit in your partial denture fit or when biting something down
Even though you do not see any symptoms, you can still be suffering from periodontitis. In some patients, the condition might affect only specific teeth. Only your skilled dentist can identify and determine the development of the disease. That means regular dental visits are critical.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
To determine whether you suffer from gum disease, your qualified dentist will:
- Assess your medical history to identify factors that might be causing your symptoms, like medication or smoking
- Examine the mouth to look for tartar and plaque buildup
- Measure the depth of the pocket around all your teeth using a periodontal probe — Generally, healthy gums have pockets approximately 1mm to 3mm deep. Beyond that, the deeper your pockets, the more serious your condition.
- Examine if you have any sensitive teeth — Sensitive teeth around your gum line might indicate receding gums.
- Taking an x-ray will assist show the degree of your underlying bone and whether you have lost any bone to the condition.
- Your dentist will look for bleeding gums or red, swollen gums and loose teeth due to an incorrect bite or bone loss.
Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontitis treatment options range from surgical procedures that restore your supportive tissues to non-surgical therapies that regulate bacterial growth. The most suitable treatment option depends on your disease’s stage, how you have responded to previous treatment methods, and your general health.
Non-Surgical Treatment Methods
Some of the dental treatments that do not involve a surgical procedure include:
- Scaling and root planing involve deep cleaning under local anesthesia where tartar and plaque are scraped (scaling), and uneven areas on your teeth are smoothened (planning). Planing gets rid of bacteria and offers an ideal surface for your gum to attach to your teeth. The dental procedure is performed provided your dentist determines you have calculus and plaque under your gums that they should remove.
- Dental cleaning — During your normal dental checkup, your hygienist will remove the tartar and plaque from your teeth. If you exhibit symptoms of periodontitis, the dentist might recommend dental cleaning at least twice a year. Dental cleanings act as a preventive measure that stops the condition’s development.
Surgical Periodontitis Treatment Options
A surgical procedure is the last resort. It is used when the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired without surgery. Some of the common surgical treatments include:
- Pocket reduction surgery/flap surgery — Your gums are lifted back and tartar removed in this procedure. Sometimes uneven surfaces of your destroyed bone are flattened to restrict regions where bacteria might hide. Then your gums are placed, so your tissue fits around your tooth. The surgical procedure decreases the size of the spaces between your tooth and gum, decreasing the area where dangerous bacteria could grow and the possibility of developing severe health conditions linked to gum disease.
- Soft tissue grafts — The procedure fills in areas where your gums have receded or reinforce thin gums. Generally, grafted tissue is extracted from the roof of your mouth, stitched in place, increasing tissue to your affected region.
- Bone grafts — The surgical procedure involves fragments of the bone, donated bone, or synthetic bone to replace the damaged bone. The grafts support bone regrowth, restoring your teeth’ stability. Tissue engineering boosts the body to repair tissue and bone speedily.
- Bone surgery — It smoothes any shallow crater in your bone caused by advanced and moderate bone loss. After the flap surgery, the bone around your tooth is reshaped to reduce your craters. The aim is to make it hard for bacteria to accumulate.
- Guided tissue regeneration — Your dentist will perform this procedure when your bone supporting the teeth has been damaged. It is integrated with flap surgery, and a tiny mesh-like fabric is inserted between your gum tissue and the bone. It keeps your gum tissues from growing in the region when your bone should be, permitting your connective tissue and bone to regrow and better support your teeth.
Medication for Treating Periodontitis
Antibiotics are used alongside therapy, surgery, or even alone to lower or temporarily eradicate the bacteria linked with periodontal disease or overturn the damage of your tooth’s attachment to your bone.
Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial used to regulate gingivitis and plaque. The drug is available as a mouth rinse or a gelatin-filled chip placed in pockets following root planing and releases your drug slowly for approximately seven days.
Your dentist can also prescribe other antibiotics like tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline.
Additionally, you can use a nonprescription toothpaste marked as antibacterial with triclosan and fluoride.
Are There Special Preparation Required Before Treating Gum Disease?
The periodontist will perform most dental treatment options in their office. The comfort level, the time required to complete the dental procedure, and recovery duration vary with patients depending mainly on the patient’s overall health and extent and type of the treatment option. Your dentist can use local anesthesia to numb your treatment site before some procedures. If necessary, you might take medication to assist you in relaxing.
Reversing Gum Disease
Reverse gum disease aims to get rid of tartar on your teeth root and under the gum line. While periodontitis can only be slowed down, you can reverse gingivitis. That is why it is essential to diagnose it early and stop it from progressing to periodontitis.
You don’t require anything special. Instead, focus on keeping your mouth and teeth healthy by following these tips:
- Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Ensure you brush twice a day.
- Floss the teeth daily
- Visit your skilled dentist after six months or as they recommend
- Address dental issues such as teeth grinding and misalignment
- Avoid chewing tobacco or smoking
- Eat a well-balanced diet
How to Prevent Gum Disease
You can prevent periodontitis from worsening and reverse gingivitis with plaque control. Appropriate plaque control involves professional dental cleaning after every six months and daily teeth flossing and brushing.
Brush the teeth at least two times daily using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing removes plaque on hard-to-reach surfaces. Be sure to replace the toothbrush once the bristles become frayed or after every three months. An old, worn-out toothbrush cannot clean your teeth well.
Do not wait until something sticks between the teeth to floss. Daily flossing removes plaque and debris from under your gum line and between the teeth (areas that your toothbrush cannot reach). Additionally, you can try a tiny brush, pick, or interdental cleaner that fits in between your teeth. Would you mind requesting your dental expert to demonstrate how to use them so that you do not damage the gums?
Also, rinse the mouth using an antibacterial mouthwash. The mouthwash prevents gingivitis and fights plaque and bad breath. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), an antibacterial rinse can lower bacteria that cause gum disease and plaque. Remember to inquire from your dentist about the most suitable mouthwash for you. Lifestyle and health changes can also significantly reduce the threat of periodontitis and slow down how it develops. These practices include:
- Reduce stress
- Eat a balanced diet
- Avoid teeth clenching and grinding (It can put excessive force on your teeth’ supporting tissue and might intensify the rate at which the tissues are damaged).
- Stop smoking
Despite making healthy lifestyle changes and complying with proper dental hygiene practices, you can develop gum disease due to your genes. That means if you have a relative with gum disease, you might be at an increased risk as well. In that case, your skilled dentist might recommend more dental checkups and treatment options to manage your condition better.
The Best Toothpaste for Preventing Gum Disease
The primary purpose of brushing teeth is to remove plaque on teeth that might contain bacteria and cause tooth decay and gum disease. Any toothpaste, when used alongside consistent and thorough oral hygiene practices, will achieve the goal.
While abrasive agents like calcium carbonate and silicates help get rid of sticky plaque, fluoride kills mouth bacteria. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the detergent responsible for the forming effect. Additionally, there are other ingredients in toothpaste that keep plaque off your teeth after brushing.
Different types of toothpaste vary in sodium lauryl sulfate amounts. The higher the concentration, the greater the possibility of causing challenges to patients with low saliva flow or dry mouth.
You can request your dentist to recommend the best toothpaste for you.
What Periodontitis Could Mean for Your General Health
Periodontitis is unpleasant, and according to research, it can play a significant role in a wide range of seemingly unrelated health conditions. The section below will cover surprising links between periodontal disease and these conditions.
The Relationship Between Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Health Issues
While not every person with health disease suffers from periodontitis, and not every gum disease patient has a cardiovascular health condition, there exists a correlation.
People who drink a lot of alcohol or smoke are at an increased risk of having both conditions. However, there is more to this relationship than the shared risk factors.
Inflammation is a response to pathogens or irritants (a protective mechanism). Nevertheless, if it persists, it can result in organs and tissues damage. Inflammation in your gums can ultimately cause inflammation in your cardiovascular system.
Moreover, bacteria in your gum can enter your bloodstream and cause damage and inflammation in different body organs, including your heart. According to a study conducted by C.B. Stevens, B.J. Paster etl., P. gingivalis is the most prevalent bacteria in the coronary artery.
Gum Disease Increases the Risk of Suffering from Cancer
According to a study involving approximately sixty-eight thousand participants, there is a relationship between cancer risk and gum disease.
Treponema denticola (an enzyme produced by the bacteria related to gum disease) is found in specific tumors of the gastrointestinal system. The enzyme assists the bacteria to invade your tissues in gum disease. Additionally, the enzyme activates other enzymes that promote cancerous cells as they advance into healthy tissues. Erectile Dysfunction
Approximately fifty percent of men above forty years suffer from erectile dysfunction. Typically, erectile dysfunction is caused by malfunctioning blood vessels where the smooth muscles lining the wall of blood vessels lose the ability to relax. It prevents vasodilation in the penis and, as a result, erection.
As previously mentioned, inflammation in one body part can spread through chemical messengers in your blood and affect other body organs.
Diabetes and Gum Disease
According to the American Diabetes Association, the link between diabetes and gum disease goes two ways. Gum disease might affect blood glucose regulation, and diabetic persons are more vulnerable to bacterial infections, resulting in periodontal disease. Diabetes patients have low healing capacity because their immune system is compromised. That means there is more periodontal tissue breakdown because they do not recover.
If plaque is not properly removed, it triggers an inflammatory response, and patients find it challenging to control their blood sugar. According to research published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, approximately one in five persons with periodontal disease suffered from type 2 diabetes patients without realizing it.
It is paramount for diabetes patients to make their dental health a priority. Managing blood glucose levels integrated with proper oral hygiene practices and frequent dental visits can prevent dental challenges related to diabetes. However, you must put all non-emergency dental work on hold if the blood sugar isn’t regulated.
Managing Gum Disease in Your Child
Your child should begin having their teeth brushed with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste starting at their first birthday. You should brush all teeth surfaces, including their gum line. It would help if you also introduced flossing after the gaps between their teeth begin to close.
Ensure you establish an oral routine so your baby can get used to it. Once the child can brush on their own, pass the routine and monitor to ensure consistency. Finally, be sure the child receives regular dental visits starting from the age of one.
It is not uncommon for your child to experience gingivitis during puberty because of hormonal imbalances in the body. Therefore, you should monitor your adolescent child for proper dental hygiene practices and take them to a professional dentist to treat periodontal disease using professional dental cleaning.
Home Remedies to Treat Gum Disease
Home remedy is an effective and pocket-friendly option to treat gingivitis and gum disease. If you start your treatment early, you can treat plaque before it becomes tartar. You can also increase your duration and frequency of flossing and brushing.
While home remedies have natural ingredients, you should not swallow them. Instead, keep your ingredients refrigerated, mainly if you reside in an area with a warm climate. Also, use high-quality products.
The home remedies discussed below are safe. However, seek medical guidance before using it if you have another health condition, are a breastfeeding mother, or are expectant.
Salt Water Rinse Treatment
Salt is a disinfectant that assists the body in recovering on its own. Saltwater also relieves bad breath, removes food particles, reduces bacteria, soothes inflamed gums, and assists ease the pain.
To use salty water:
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and then mix the solution.
- Swish your solution on the mouth for about thirty seconds.
- Spit out your solution.
Do this twice or thrice a day.
Aloe Vera Mouthwash
Aloe vera acts as effective chlorhexidine and reduces gingivitis and plaque. Unlike other mouthwash options, aloe vera juice does not require to be diluted. Also, ensure the juice is 100% pure before use.
To use your aloe vera mouthwash:
- Swish your juice on the mouth for about thirty seconds.
- Spit out your solution.
Repeat twice or thrice a day.
Please note that you should not use this mouthwash if you are allergic to aloe vera.
Turmeric is used on most home remedies because it has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric gel is available in most health food shops. You should apply the gel to your gums for about ten minutes before rinsing using water and spitting to treat gingivitis.
Contact a La Puente Dentist Near Me
Gum disease is an infection of your tissues supporting and surrounding your teeth, and it is caused by plaque. Some of its symptoms include swollen gums, bleeding gums, changes in how partial dentures fit, loose teeth, bad breath, and pus between your gums and teeth. If left untreated, the condition can result in severe health conditions like tooth loss. Do not hesitate to visit a dentist once you suspect you suffer from gum disease. Please contact La Puente Advanced Dentistry by calling us at 626-626-7075 to book your dental appointment. Our dentists are highly experienced in surgical and non-surgical methods and can discuss the most effective treatment plan with you during the initial consultation. Our goal is to assist in restoring a smile you can feel confident in again.