Gums play a vital role in keeping our teeth firmly in the jaw and protecting their roots from decaying. Without proper flossing and care, gum diseases can occur at any age.
Causes of gum disease
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor diet (Deficiency of vitamin C & excess alcohol)
- Excessive smoking, chewing paan and/or tobacco
- Frequent use of toothpicks
- Large unattended cavities
- Irregular, malaligned teeth
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Oral contraceptives, steroids and other long term medicines used
Symptoms of gum disease
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Pain on chewing
- Loose & shaky teeth
- Hot & cold food / water sensation
- Gaps occurring between teeth
Types (stages) of gum disease – their causes and treatments
Symptoms: Red, inflamed gums which bleed while brushing. Tenderness is also observed at the margin of gums sometimes.
Cause: Faulty brushing technique or poor oral hygiene can lead to redness and bleeding. This leads to pain and bad breath.
Treatment: It can be cured by imbibing good oral hygiene which includes learning to brush correctly, using good mouth washes post brushing and after meals, getting teeth cleaned regularly by the dentist to remove plaque and tartar.
Symptoms: Red, spongy, inflamed gums accompanied by bad breath.
Cause: When Gingivitis is not treated on time, the plaque & tartar gets accumulated from the tooth surface into the gums. This leads to detachment of the gums from the tooth surface from within and forms a pocket-like structure.The pocket keeps accumulating food particles each time we eat, making the pocket deeper and deeper, until it reaches a point where it is impossible for patients to remove food particles from within, leading to bad breath, bleeding gums and pain.
Treatment: This condition can be treated by:
- Medicines to control pain & infection (anti-inflammatory & antibiotics).
- Use of multivitamins(especially vitamin C to help re-generation of broken gum filaments).
- Proper brushing technique & use of good mouthwashes.
- Scaling & polishing of teeth.
- Root Planning: Cleaning & smoothening the inner lower surface of teeth & gums.
Symptoms: Bleeding gums, bad breath, bad taste in mouth, loose and shaky teeth. Pus discharge (white fluid) may also be seen along the margins of the gums.
Cause: When periodontitis is not treated on time, the damage to the inner part of the teeth and gums increases further, getting deeper with time, leading to damage to the inner jaw bone, causing excessive pain upon chewing. In addition, there is pus discharge, bleeding gums and bad breath.
Treatment: This advanced stage of gum disease can now be treated only by a procedure known as Flap Surgery.
In this treatment, the gums are gently separated from the tooth margin, creating an access to the infected pocket. Deep pockets of plaque and tartar are removed. The lower inner tooth surface, along with inner layer of the gums are cleaned and scraped using a curette. Artificial bone powder is then put onto the damaged jaw bone to enable new bone generation.
Finally, the gums are placed back onto the tooth, in their original position and sutured. The sutures are removed after a week and the patient is advised to keep good oral hygiene by the following methods to avoid relapse of the condition:
- Brushing twice daily using a guided vertical brushing technique.
- Regular flossing in order to remove food particles and plaque between teeth, and applying gels on gums before sleeping.
- Rinsing the mouth properly with good, medicated mouthwashes.
- Intake of Vitamin C and calcium (if recommended by the doctor).
- Replacing the toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
- Visiting the dentist every six months for cleaning and polishing of teeth (if required).