Prevention is better than cure
Just about half (47.2 percent) of all adults over the age of 30 currently have gum disease. While most people do not even know that they have any kind of gum disease, many of those who are aware of it have no idea how bad it can get. The reality is that one out of every two adults in America has the disease. It is also true that it is the biggest cause of tooth loss today.
What is even more ironic than having a disease and not knowing it is that most people at some point could have completely rid themselves of it in the early stages. This gum infection is largely started because of poor care of your teeth.
How Gum Disease Works
In a healthy mouth, there is a normal balance between the good and bad bacteria. There are more than 500 types of bacteria in your mouth – good and bad. Under certain conditions, the bad bacteria get an upper hand. This bacterium causes both cavities and gum disease, and it produces acid when it consumes sugar.
Every day, the bacteria in your mouth form plaque on your teeth. It is always multiplying fast. If you leave it on your teeth without removing it, the acid will not only erode the enamel on your teeth, but it will also irritate the gums. When left on your teeth, the bacterial structure of the plaque changes and becomes more complex.
The irritation of the gums starts a chain reaction. The immune response targets the irritation and the bacteria. It soon becomes an autoimmune response and begins attacking your gums, the ligaments that support your teeth, and your jawbone. As the gums recede, this permits many more bacteria into your gums – and the inflammation keeps spreading – not just in your gums, but now it is going throughout your body.
The Four Stages
Gum disease goes through four stages from mild to advanced:
Stage One: Gingivitis
At the gingivitis stage, the symptoms are mild, which is largely why people do not recognize it as a problem. There are only two gum disease symptoms in this stage: red or inflamed gums and bleeding gums. You may also have bad breath. At this stage, you can rather easily get rid of the gum disease simply by providing better care for your teeth – brushing twice a day and flossing. Flossing is important because it will remove the acid and bacteria from between your teeth. Usually, help from a dentist will not be needed and there is not any bone loss occurring yet.
Stage Two: Early Periodontitis
In this stage and the other two, there is generally almost no pain associated with gum disease. This is why so many people do not realize how serious it is until some serious symptoms appear.
While in stage two, the gums have begun receding and the bacteria move in. There will be more bleeding than before. Gum pockets have begun forming along the gum line and it is now out of reach – neither a toothbrush nor floss can get to it. Bone loss has started. A dentist is needed to help with removing the gum disease.
The stage of periodontitis is determined by measuring how deep the pockets are in the gums. The dentist will use a measuring tool. At this stage, they will be between 4 to 5 mm.
Stage Three: Moderate Periodontitis
The symptoms are now getting worse. The inflammation in the gums has spread. There may now be pus along the gum line, spaces developing between your teeth, and your gums continue to recede. The pockets are now going to be at a depth of 6 to 7 mm, and the bone continues to deteriorate.
Another problem at this point is the inflammation. It is now spreading throughout your body. Inflammation is known to be behind the development of many diseases – some of them fatal. Among them are cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, several types of cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, infertility, and many more.
Stage Four: Advanced Periodontitis
There will be some pain at this stage when you bite down and chew. Your teeth have started to become loose and may start to fall out. The damage is now considerable. If it is not treated at this point, you will most likely lose some teeth and they may all need to be pulled.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
Once you reached stage two or three, the periodontist will probably use medication and a procedure called scaling and root planing. This involves the dentist manually going into each pocket to remove the bacteria and inflammation. It may be done by laser or surgery.
Preventing Gum Disease
Periodontitis can cost you your smile and teeth. It can easily be prevented in most cases and easily removed if you develop good habits of oral care. For best results in preventing gum disease, you will also need to control diabetes, avoid a dry mouth, eat healthy, and quit smoking.
If you have discovered that you have gum disease and find that it is more serious than gingivitis, you need gum disease treatment to get rid of it. It can be removed. As a Board Certified Periodontist, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, can provide you with all the periodontal disease treatment you need. His dental offices are in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas and they accept most dental health plans. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.