Gum disease is an oral infection that damages the gum tissue and destroys the jaw bone structure. If left untreated, gum disease (also called periodontitis) can result in tooth loss.
Gum disease is often caused by plaque buildup. The bacteria in your mouth release toxins that irritate gum tissue. The gums become inflamed and bleed easily. As the plaque spreads, it irritates the gums, even more, causing pockets to form between the teeth and gums. Over time, plaque can infect the gums and bones, causing tooth loss and deterioration.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. It occurs when plaque and tartar build up on the teeth and along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film made up of bacteria, mucus, and food particles. It forms on the teeth when saliva and bacteria start to break down the food you eat. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that can damage the gums and bone supporting the teeth. If it is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, over time, plaque can harden into tartar, which is difficult to remove.
Genetics can also play a role in gum disease. Studies have found that people with a family history of gum disease are more likely to develop it. The other major causes of gum disease include:
- Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation
- Illnesses like cancer or HIV that affect the immune system
- Some medications that reduces the flow of saliva and some drugs that cause abnormal growth of gum tissue
- Bad habits like smoking
How To Prevent Gum Disease?
Our dental health experts recommend the following tips to prevent gum disease:
- Brush and floss your teeth daily.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- See your dentist for regular dental exams and cleanings at least twice a year.
What Treatments Are Available For Gum Disease?
If diagnosed with gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options. Some treatments are non-surgical, while others require surgery. Initially, a deep cleaning is known as scaling and root planing will be recommended. Scaling is the removal of tartar and plaque from the root surface below the gum line. Root planing smoothes the root surfaces to prevent future buildup. Scaling and root planning can be done with local anesthesia.
If the gum disease is severe and non-surgical methods aren’t effective, gum surgery may be required. Gum surgery removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line. A laser may also be used to vaporize the bacteria and diseased gum. A soft tissue graft may also be used to replace the diseased gum.
At Greenwell Springs Family Dentistry, we offer high-quality dental care using state-of-the-art dental technologies. To learn more about our dental services, call Dentist in Greenwell Springs, LA at (225) 261-0043 or visit our dental office located at 14127 Greenwell Springs Road, Greenwell Springs.