Gum disease is a major problem contributing to tooth loss in adults. The gums are an important part of your dental formula, and they protect your teeth and the supporting structures in the surrounding. If a part of your gums is affected by tooth decay, it may cause trouble to the dental formula and the good cleanliness of your mouth.
Gum disease is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection in your mouth. Bacteria and fungi can enter your oral cavity through various routes, but the most common way is through an infected tooth. In some cases, the bacteria may cause cavities without affecting the teeth.
Let’s look into common gum problems.
Common gum problems include:
1. Gum Disease
Gum disease is also known as periodontitis. Tooth decay is a major cause of gum disease. However, gum disease is not tooth decay. The most common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Other factors such as having the same dental clinician for a long time and smoking also contribute to the condition but to a much smaller extent.
Infection often causes redness, swelling, and bleeding of your gums. The infection may spread to the bone supporting your tooth, and if left untreated, it may cause tooth loss.
2. Dental Caries
Dental caries is also known as tooth decay. It is a bacterial infection in your mouth that causes damage to the teeth and leads to cavities in the teeth. The bacteria stain the enamel, destroying its protective property. As a result, your teeth are exposed to cavity-causing acids that eat away at the enamel and dentin of your teeth.
Dentin is a layer of the tooth where minerals are held in place by the mineral component of your enamel. When the enamel is attacked by bacteria, it becomes softer and more susceptible to decay.
Gingivitis is also known as gingival inflammation or gingival overgrowth. It is an early stage of gum disease that may lead to chronic gingivitis or periodontitis. Gingival overgrowth is usually caused by an imbalance between the cleansing power of mouthwash and the growth of bacteria in your mouth.
4. Ligamentum Orale
It is a soft tissue attached to the side of your jaw bone that connects the upper teeth and lower jaw. It also runs along the edge of your arch, and in some cases, it can get infected with dental caries or gingivitis. It is very common in children, but adults can also suffer from this gum problem.
5. Gum Recession
This is a condition whereby the roots of the teeth are exposed as the gum line pulls away from its initial position. The condition is usually caused by excessive brushing, tooth grinding, and exposure of the roots to hot food or beverages.
6. Periodontal abscess
This is an infection of the gum tissue with pus formation. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection that makes itself at home under the gum tissue. The swelling can bring about extreme pain in your gums, which may radiate to your neck or jaw. A warm compress may be used to relieve the pain in addition to antibiotics prescribed by your dentist.
7. Abscessed tooth
A toothache is a common sign of an abscessed tooth and swelling in gum tissues that may lead to the exposure of the roots. Tooth decay is also a major cause of an abscessed tooth. The dentist will prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the infection and relieve pain to treat an abscessed tooth. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to drain pus from the infected tooth or gums.
8. Gingiva Thinning
Gingiva is the tissue that covers the gum and tooth roots. When it thins out, it exposes the root of your teeth to dental caries and other cavity-causing microorganisms. To prevent this problem, make sure you floss every day, and don’t forget to ask your dentist for a special brush to clean between your teeth.
9. Oral Cancer
Oral cancer appears as a white or red patch, and it doesn’t heal. The most common form of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. It is a type of cancer that grows on the lining of your cheeks and lips.
We’ve listed some of the common gum problems. Let’s now look into what causes these gum problems.
1. Chewing and Smoking Tobacco
Cigarette and cigar smoking are two habits that are common among most people. Smokers are also prone to having gum problems. The problem is caused because of the effects of nicotine on the teeth, gums, and mouth. Nicotine is a harmful chemical that causes tooth decay, bad breath, and oral irritation when it comes into contact with the tissues of your mouth.
2. Dental Hygiene
Poor dental care can lead to gum problems such as tooth decay. When you have gum problems or have been suffering from them, a dentist will recommend you to take good care of your gums and teeth. Improving your dental hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent the problem from occurring again.
3. Poor Diet
A poor diet can also affect your oral health by increasing the risk factors of problems such as cavities, periodontal disease, and even oral cancer. Eating acidic foods such as citrus fruits or drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages will increase the acidity of your mouth and increase your risk for dental decay.
4. Plaque Buildup
Plaque buildup can be caused by bad oral hygiene. As a result, the bacteria on your teeth will form into hard, yellowish deposits and form cavities that are shallow so that they can be easily filled up. If not regularly brushed and flossed, plaque will eventually build up on and around your teeth which may cause tooth decay.
Some individuals are more likely to have gum problems than others. It’s all about family history in this case. Your family’s genes can be passed down to you, making it a hereditary condition.
Some people have a greater threshold of pain or sensitivity when it comes to their mouth or teeth; this leaves you more susceptible to oral problems like gum disease and tooth decay. In some cases, there are no underlying health issues but just a natural sensitivity in the form of toothache, gums bleeding, and changes in taste signals that lead to continual problems such as gum swelling and periodontal disease.
7. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a hereditary disorder related to an intolerance to gluten. It triggers allergic reactions, which cause the immune system to attack the tissues of your body, including your mouth and teeth. This condition can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease, gingivitis, and swelling of the gums and tongue.
Diabetes can lead to gum problems in diabetic patients. It is caused by an overproduction of blood glucose which causes high sugar levels in the blood. As a result, the patient will have an increased risk for tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.
9. Prescription Medications
Some medications can reduce saliva flow and reduction. Alcohol, antacids, antidepressants, and beta-blockers can impair your oral health by reducing saliva production and the breakdown of food particles.
10. Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is a widespread disease that mostly affects the lips and mouth. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor dental care are common causes of oral cancer. Most cases are preventable if you take good care of your teeth by regularly cleaning them with a toothbrush or dental floss.
How to Avoid Gum Problems
Some of the recommended ways to avoid gum problems include:
1. Get Dental Cleaning Regularly
Dental cleaning is done to clean your teeth and remove the plaque built up over time. It is also an opportunity for your dentist to check for any potential signs of gum problems. Regular checkups will help you prevent gum disease or tooth decay in the future. It’s also important to pay attention to your dental hygiene since it will help reduce the risk of gum problems. Brush and floss your teeth regularly, and make sure you go for your dental checkup at least twice a year.
2. Use Therapeutic Mouthwash
Therapeutic mouthwash, also known as anti-plaque mouthwash, is a type of mouthwash used to prevent plaque accumulation and prevent gum diseases. The recommended ones are the ones containing fluoride. Fluoride works by strengthening your enamel, which prevents tooth decay from forming in the first place. 10 minutes after brushing your teeth with toothpaste, you can use a therapeutic mouthwash to reduce plaque buildup again.
3. Quit Smoking
Smoking is linked to many diseases, including oral misfortunes such as gum disease and tooth decay. If you want to prevent gum problems and tooth decay, it’s best that you quit smoking. It will help your teeth wear down faster, allowing the gums to heal faster as well.
A variety of factors can cause gum problems. It’s easy to prevent gum problems by having good oral hygiene and an adequate diet. The more you know about gum disease, the more likely you are to prevent it from occurring in the future. So, if you want to keep your teeth in great health, make sure to brush them for two minutes every day and visit your dentist regularly for dental checkups and cleaning.