When your gums are healthy, they should be firm and pink and not bleed when you brush or touch them. Only the healthy gums are able to secure your teeth in place. Gum diseases start with the growth of bacteria in the mouth and if left treated, they can even result in loss of teeth because of the destruction of the tissues surrounding them. There are instances when gum diseases are not very painful and you may not be aware that you actually have a gum disease. This is why it is important to undergo dental check-ups on a regular basis.
Causes of gum disease
Gum diseases are primarily caused by plaque. However, there are other factors that may contribute to the condition like:
- Hormonal changes: The gums can become more sensitive as a result of hormonal changes during puberty, monthly menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
- Illnesses: There are certain illnesses that affect the gum’s condition. These include diseases such as HIV and cancer that interfere with the immune system. Diabetes can also affect the ability of the body to use blood sugar and this may increase the risk of the patient developing infections including gum diseases.
- Medications: There are certain medications that can affect your oral heath as they reduce the saliva flow, which offer a protective effect on the gum and teeth. Medications such as anticonvulsants drug Dilantin are some of these drugs.
- Bad habits: Habits such as smoking make it harder for the gum tissues to repair themselves. Poor oral hygiene habits like not brushing or flossing daily also result in gum diseases.
Symptoms of gum diseases
There are various symptoms of gum diseases and these include:
This stage of the diseases is known as gingivitis. Some of the initial symptoms in this stage include:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding of the gums after flossing or brushing your teeth
When left untreated, gingivitis can affect the bone and tissue supporting the teeth leading to periodontitis. Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Bad breath or also known as halitosis
- Loose teeth that make it difficult to eat
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Gum abscesses (pus collecting under the teeth or gum)
Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG)
There are a few rare cases where there can be a sudden development of a condition known as ANUG. This stage has more severe symptoms as compared to those of periodontisis. Some of these include:
- Bleeding and painful gums
- Receding gums in between the teeth
- Painful ulcers
- Excess saliva in the mouth
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Difficulty in talking or swallowing
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When You Should See A Dentist
As soon as you start to see the symptoms of gum diseases, it is best to seek help from an experienced dentist. It is important to treat the gum diseases right from the beginning to avoid any severe dental issues. To get the right treatment, it is very critical to find an experienced dentist who has the latest equipment and tools to assure safe and timely treatment.