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Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Millions of Americans suffer some form of periodontal (gum) disease, from simple cases to extremely severe that require corrective procedures. Discover the causes and symptoms of gum disease and how you can improve the health of your gums.

Author: Alfred Alfie
Date: Jan 28, 2012 - 9:06:09 AM

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Most people experience some kind of gum disease in their lives, often without realizing what is actually afflicting them. If you've had to seek treatment or change your oral hygiene habits due to gum disease, then you're just one of the millions of people experiencing gum inflammation and other symptoms. How your gum disease progresses - whether it slows, stops or reverses, is entirely dependent on how you care for your teeth and gums each day.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and the bone that support the teeth. The condition typically begins with inflammation and can worsen to the point where the gums recede away from the teeth. As it progresses, gum disease can become extremely serious - to the point where infections occur and teeth can  loosen or fall out.

What Causes Gum Disease?

We try to educate children not to bite because the human mouth is a dirty place. There are countless bacteria roaming around in our mouth at any given time. These bacteria, both alive and dead, along with mucus and other particles and foreign  matter constantly come together to form sticky, colorless "plaque" on our teeth. Traditional wisdom says that brushing and flossing gets rid of this plaque.

If plaque is not removed it eventually begins to harden into tartar on the teeth. Traditional brushing even with a hard-bristled toothbrush won't remove tartar buildup. It takes a professional cleaning from a dentist to remove heavy tartar buildup.

Gum Disease & Gingivitis

The longer that plaque and tartar hangs out on your teeth, the more harm it does to the gums. The living bacteria lingering on your teeth will begin to cause inflammation along the gum lines known as gingivitis. These are the starting symptoms of gum disease, where the gums become red, swollen and sensitive (also bleeding easily such as when you brush or flush). Because it's an early form of gum disease, it's easy to reverse by using floss and switching from using a hard toothbrush to a brushless toothbrush that doesn't harm the gums. This type of brushless toothbrush for receding games can effectively remove plaque before it sets and is gentler on healing gums.

Gum Disease - The Risks of Untreated Gingivitis

If gingivitis goes untreated it becomes a more advanced type of gum disease known as periodontitis. This results in the gums pulling away from the tooth, opening pockets into the root area of the tooth. These pockets become infected and as the bacteria take hold they release toxins. Between these toxins and the natural immune response, the connective tissue that holds teeth in place begins to break down. If not treated, the bones, gums and tissues supporting the teeth are destroyed.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The symptoms can vary depending on the stage of your gum disease. These symptoms include:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Red and/or swollen gums
  • Tender and/or bleeding gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Loose, decaying teeth
  • Receding gums

    Treatment of Gum Disease

    The primary goal of gum disease treatments is to control the infection and reduce the inflammation. The number and types of treatment of gum disease will vary depending on the condition of the gums and teeth. Once the infection is controlled and the teeth are cleaned professionally (and/or other corrective measures are completed such as medication use or surgical treatment) the dentist will often recommend an improved daily cleaning regimen that includes a change from a common toothbrush to a brushless toothbrush for receding gums.

    How to Prevent Gum Disease

    The best way to prevent gum disease from developing, or to reverse the onset of gingivitis, is to develop a better approach to oral hygiene. Brushing harder or more frequently with a bristled tooth brush is not the answer. Here are some simple tips to help reduce the risk of gum disease.

  • Brush with a brushless toothbrush after meals, in the morning and before you sleep
  • Floss (or use a pick) after meals and rinse with an appropriate mouthwash solution
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning
  • Stop smoking
  • PeriClean is a specially designed toothbrush for receding gums that is Dentist Designed and Recommended to give you the best oral hygiene the Safe and Effective Way! It is designed to stop the tooth wear caused by hard-bristle brushing and can help fight back against gum disease by gently cleaning and massaging the gum line. Learn more about the new
    PeriClean Brushless Toothbrush.

    View all articles by Alfred Alfie

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