are pink in color and have a sharp outline. They generally do
not bleed on brushing.
is the most common cause of tooth loss.
Gums gradually shrink as people age. After age 35, about three
out of four adults are affected by some form of gum disease. It
is a slowly progressing infection and is mostly painless in the
early stages, and hence most people do not pay any attention to
it till it is too late. But it is a totally preventable
disease, and can be treated if caught early.
of Gum Disease
is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly
forms on the teeth. If this plaque is not removed on a daily basis,
it will get mineralized to form a stony crust called calculus
or tartar. It is not possible for you to remove this calculus
- your dentist will use a special instrument called a scaler to
remove it. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums
disease can be divided into two stages:
- Bad breath
odor that doesn't go away
prevent gingivitis you need to do is keep the bacterial populations
in balance by flossing, brushing, and rinsing daily with an
anti-microbial rinse which removes excess bacteria. Proper home
dental care can remove plaque. Professional cleanings during
routine dental visits remove tartar which harbors and nurtures
the proliferation of the undesirable bacteria. If left unchecked,
however, gingivitis may progress to periodontal disease
is an infection of the underlying bone. Periodontal
disease is primarily caused by a "silent" and "painless"
bacterial infection of the bone and ligaments which hold the
teeth in place. Symptoms
often do not appear until later stages. Some of the signs may
or other discomfort
bone has been lost, the tooth will become loose. The progress
of the disease depends on individual health and resistance to
disease. There may be no activity for years, and then when resistance
decreases temporarily, gum disease appears or flares-up.
See your Dentist
immediately if you notice:
- gums bleed
when you brush your teeth
- red, swollen
or tender gums
- gums have
pulled away from the teeth
- bad breath
that doesn't go away
- pus between
your teeth and gums
- loose teeth
- a change
in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- a change
in the fit of partial dentures
of Gum Disease
Healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in
red and swollen. Slight separation of gum from teeth but attachment
to teeth still intact.
Unremoved, plaque hardens into calculus (tartar).
As plaque and calculus continue to build up, the gums begin
to recede (pull away) from the teeth, and pockets form between
the teeth and gums.
disease the gums recede farther, destroying more bone and
the periodontal ligament. Teeth even healthy teeth
may become loose and need to be extracted.
from ADA- "Gum Disease" 1
It is very
important to not allow calculus to form on your teeth, simply
by brushing the plaque off on a daily basis. Floss can be used
to remove plaque that forms in-between teeth.
The only way
you can detect gum disease is by going for regular dental check-ups.
Your dentist will check for disease signs with a probe as well
as with x-rays. Only a professional can diagnose gum disease in
it's early stages, when it is easiest to treat. Prevention and
treatment of gum disease involves the combined efforts of your
dentist and yourself. Your dentist will remove the calculus present
on your teeth. He will also check for other contributing factors
- defective fillings, crowns, bite problems, etc. He will explain
the correct method of brushing and flossing, and will provide
maintenance care after the initial treatment. You are required
to put in your efforts towards daily brushing and flossing, and
following other instructions.