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What is Gum Disease and How to Prevent It

Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease, is a popular yet severe condition affecting the gums and tissues surrounding the teeth. It starts when bacteria accumulate in your mouth and can culminate in tooth loss if it is not treated.

Understanding Gum Disease

Gum disease typically progresses through two stages: of the gum diseases, namely gingivitis and periodontitis.


Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease. It is characterized by inflammation of the gums, which become red, swollen, and easily bleed even when brushing or flossing the teeth. Gingivitis is more often a result of improper oral hygiene which results in the buildup of plaques, a sticky film of bacteria on the teeth and gums. The best news is that this is a reversible condition if proper oral hygiene together with getting professional treatment is adopted.


Gingivitis, if not treated can lead to periodontitis which is a more severe form of gum disease. At this stage, the gum and bone of the teeth start to shrink and leave a space between them and the teeth. These tiny pockets that are located between the teeth and the gum can also accumulate debris and can easily get infected. The body’s immune system combats the bacteria as this buildup and growth occurs below the gum line. Thus, the toxins secreted by the bacteria and the healthy enzymes of the body that are fighting the infection begin to destroy the bone and the connective tissue that keeps the teeth in place. If left untreated, the bones, gums, and tissues supporting the teeth are broken down. The teeth may begin to get loose and may have to be pulled out.

Causes and Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Several factors can contribute to gum disease, including:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: If you do not brush and floss properly, plaque is bound to form.
  • Smoking and Tobacco Use: Smoking may be one of the leading causes of gum disease, and this shows how dangerous it is.
  • Genetics: Others are at a higher risk of developing gum diseases due to their DNA.
  • Medications: Some medicines that are taken orally can lead to poor dental health since they decrease the amount of saliva that is produced and this is important in the protection of the gums and teeth.
  • Hormonal Changes: It is also important to note that hormonal changes such as those that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause also make gums tender.
  • Medical Conditions: Illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and HIV can also have an impact on your gums’ health.
  • Stress: Stress can also reduce the body’s capacity to respond to infection, which may include the gums.
  • Poor Nutrition: If the body is not getting the necessary nutrients in the food that one is taking then the immune system will be weak and cannot fight off the diseases.



Symptoms of Gum Disease

It is therefore important to identify the signs of gum disease so that it can be treated before it advances to the later stages. Common signs include:

  • Gums that bleed easily, are red, swollen, or tender to touch
  • Bleeding of the gums when one is brushing or flossing their teeth
  • Bad breath/bad taste in the mouth on a regular basis.
  • Shrinking of the gum tissue results in the appearance of longer teeth.
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Shifts in the occlusion of your teeth, meaning how your teeth come into contact with each other when you bite
  • Food bits trapped between the teeth and the gum
  • If you have any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you get dental treatment as soon as possible.


How To Prevent Gum Disease

To avoid gum disease it is recommended that you observe proper oral hygiene and seek professional dental care. Here are some effective strategies to keep your gums healthy:

  1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day: Rinse your mouth with water and use a fluoride-containing toothpaste and a soft-bristled tooth brush to brush your teeth for two minutes. It is recommended that all areas, including the gum line, should be cleaned to get rid of plaque.
  2. Floss Daily: Flossing is cleaning the bits of food and plaque that may be trapped between your teeth and gums which a toothbrush cannot reach. It is recommended that Americans should adopt the following daily regimen to prevent gum disease.
  3. Use Mouthwash: Antimicrobial mouthwash is also useful in the prevention of plaque formation and thus gingivitis. Use mouthwash with ADA seal of approval since it has been certified to be safe for use.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Diet: Ensure that you take foods that contain vitamins and minerals to help boost your body’s immunity and health. Do not consume sugary foods that will lead to the formation of plaque on the teeth surfaces.
  5. Avoid Tobacco Products: Other tobacco products also raise the risk for gum disease since it is not only limited to smoking. Tobacco use is not beneficial for oral health and it is advisable to quit to enhance the health of your mouth.
  6. Stay Hydrated: It also helps in rinsing food debris and bacteria from the mouth, therefore, promoting cleanliness.
  7. Visit Your Dentist Regularly: Thus, it is recommended to visit the dentist at least twice a year to have a check-up and a professional cleaning to avoid gum disease. Your dentist will be able to diagnose gum disease and give the correct intervention.
  8. Manage Stress: Stress weakens the immune system of the body and this makes it difficult for the body to fight off diseases. Some of the ways that can help to reduce stress include, exercising, meditating, and getting enough sleep.
  9. Be Aware of Your Medical Conditions: If you have a disease that may affect your gums for instance diabetes consult your doctor in order to have the disease well controlled.
  10. Educate Yourself: Knowing the significance of oral hygiene and the ways to achieve it could help you to have control over your gum health.

Gum disease is a quite widespread condition that has a high probability of development if prevention measures are not taken. Thus, by observing proper oral hygiene, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and visiting a dentist for check-up and cleaning, one can preserve gums and keep teeth healthy. If you suspect you have any of these symptoms, it is recommended you see your dentist Gum disease does not progress to a more serious stage if you seek treatment at an early stage; thus, your oral health will be protected.