Gum disease

Gum disease is basically the beginning of destruction of the structures supporting the teeth – the periodontium and the bone. It can not only affect the aged but can also affect the children too. Gum disease begins with build-up of bacteria in plaque and tartar deposited on the teeth. In gingivitisa mild form of gum disease, the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. If left untreated, the bacteria in the plaque invade and destroy the surrounding bone and supporting structure of the teeth leading to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. The gum pulls away from the teeth to form pockets and the bone that supports the teeth is destroyed. Once the tooth loses its support, it becomes less functional ultimately leading to its loss. Lack of oral hygiene, certain systemic diseases like diabetes, some medications, genetic diseases, hormonal changes, etc. can cause or worsen gum disease.

Infection of gums can affect heart and other organs and vice versa. Gum disease can happen more often, be more severe, and take longer to heal if you have diabetes. Studies have shown that people with gum disease have a higher risk for heart disease. According to some studies, severe gum disease during pregnancy has been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight.

Scaling or professional cleaning is the basic and one of the most effective treatments of mild to moderate forms of gum diseases. For advanced gum diseases, scaling is followed by surgery. Certain medications like antibiotics and painkillers may be prescribed either alone or along with other treatments to control the gum disease causing bacteria.

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