The Silent Disease: Do You Have It?
When it comes to gum disease, there some are things your mouth won’t tell you. You could easily have gingivitis or inflammation without feeling any pain – but just because your gums don’t hurt doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. Let’s take a closer look at this silent disease, what causes it and how to prevent it.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum, or periodontal disease, occurs when harmful bacteria builds up in your mouth. Everyone has bacteria on their gums and some bacteria is even helpful in re-mineralizing your teeth. However, when you get a building up bacteria and other substances such as mucus, it can harden into plaque.
Brushing and flossing help, but hardened plaque can only be removed with a professional cleaning. Plaque doesn’t hurt, which is why so many people mistakenly put off their cleaning; but that is a mistake because the next step in gum disease is gingivitis.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis occurs when the hardened plaque causes your gums to inflame. At this point you’ll notice a little sensitivity and see blood in the sink when you brush and floss. Excellent oral hygiene and a cleaning by your dental professional are crucial at this point to prevent periodontitis.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a serious inflammation that is localized around the teeth. It is characterized by your gums separating from your teeth and the spread of plaque below the gum line. Your body goes into action to fight the harmful bacteria by stripping away the infected area. This leads to gum, bone and tissue loss and if not treated, the damage can become permanent.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Poor oral hygiene and eating foods high in acidity and sugar are commonly known factors for gum disease, but did you know some medications or normal hormonal changes can affect your teeth and gums too?
When a woman is pregnant, she has increased levels of progesterone in her body. It is thought that this hormone makes it easier for bacteria – including the bacteria that causes gingivitis – to grow. About 40 per cent of expectant mothers experience pregnancy-related gingivitis.
A side effect of many medications is “dry mouth” caused by reduced saliva flow. Saliva is crucial in breaking down, regulating and flushing away harmful bacteria.
If you smoke, you can expect to get gum disease. Not only does this nasty habit stain your teeth and make your breath smell terrible, it is the number one cause of gum disease and severely affects the ability of your dental professional to successfully treat your gingivitis or periodontitis.
How to Prevent Gum Disease?
You are an active participant in keeping your mouth healthy and your teeth strong. If you smoke, stop. There are many programs and products available to help you kick this nasty habit. Brush and floss twice daily. Avoid sugary drinks, candy, potato chips and other junk foods. Treats are okay occassionaly, but eating these foods in excess makes it easier for harmful bacteria to flourish in your mouth. Visit your dentist regularly, at least two times a year. Even the healthiest mouths get plaque buildup and it’s the job of your dental team to remove it. Your dentist will also check for emerging oral health problems that can be quickly addressed before they become serious.
Don’t Get Caught by This Silent Disease
We all love to smile and laugh but when you are hiding bleeding gums and loose teeth behind closed lips, you impact your quality of life. Come visit us if you haven’t had a cleaning for longer than six month, if you have soreness or bleeding in your gums or if your adult teeth feel loose. Smartsmile will restore your oral health, and your smile.
Smartsmile offers a full range of dental services backed by outstanding patient care for children and adults. Smartsmile won the Consumer Choice Award four years in a row (2013 – 2016) for general and cosmetic dentistry in the London, ON region. Now that’s something to smile about!