Gum disease is typically characterised by the inflammation of the gums. It is caused by an infection of the tissues and bones surrounding your teeth. The infection is a result of plaque build-up. If left untreated, gum disease may ultimately result in tooth loss. Since gum disease remains mostly painless as it progresses, most adults only know they have it until it’s too late. But with early diagnosis and immediate treatment, the damage can be reversed. If left too late, tooth extraction and tooth replacement is necessary.
The team behind Putney Periodontics has compiled additional important facts surrounding the disease. Read on to find out how gum disease begins and who it targets below.
Direct Causes of Gum Disease
Plaque is the main culprit behind gum disease. A sticky, colourless mass of bacteria, plaque sticks to the surfaces of teeth and tissues in the oral cavity. It can also be found along the gum line and around crowns and bridges. Plaque will keep forming on the teeth until it builds up. If it is not removed immediately, plaque will evolve into the hard material known as tartar or calculus.
As it accumulates over time, tartar irritates the gums. Eventually, the tissues responsible for connecting the gums to your teeth will be infected by tartar. The gums will then slowly pull away from the teeth, creating space wherein more tartar could form. Tartar then continues to fill up these pockets, leading to irreversible damage.
Once it gets to the point wherein gums are swollen, red and tender to the touch, the disease is already well on its way to progressing into the later stages. No matter how hard you brush or floss your teeth, you cannot remove tartar. It is up to a periodontist to perform calculus extraction in order to treat gum disease.
Indirect Causes of Gum Disease
Aside from plaque build-up, there are other factors that can affect your predisposition to gum disease. For instance, poor diet and nutrition increases your risk. Consuming food that is high in sugars and gummy carbohydrates does no good. Smoking isn’t any better. Chemicals in tobacco harm oral tissues, causing your gums to deteriorate. On top of that, these chemicals deplete vitamins and minerals that reduce your resistance.
Stress can also be a contributing factor because it diminishes your body’s ability to fight infection. Serious illnesses such as diabetes and AIDS, to name a few, can lower your immune system’s resistance to the disease as well. Furthermore, be careful with certain medications as these can alter your body’s response to tartar.
Changes in the hormones during pregnancy have been shown to increase the blood supply to the gums. In fact, a high percentage of pregnant women experience red, tender or bleeding gums. Individuals going through puberty should be mindful as they too are subject to hormonal imbalances.