Gum disease is often ignored, as patients may feel that it would eventually die down and heal on their own. In reality, gum disease is one of the most devastating oral conditions that can have a drastic effect on the oral tissues. A lack of awareness about gum disease and its symptoms is perhaps one of the main reasons it stays untreated for a long time. Here are a few facts about gum disease which will help you get a better idea about it.
Gum disease can be in the form of gingivitis or periodontitis. The microbes in the mouth adhere to the teeth in the form of plaque - a transparent or yellowish layer that wouldn’t be too apparent. Over time, it can turn into dark patches that are predominantly found near the intersection of teeth or near the gum line. They release toxins that can inflame the soft gum tissues. During this stage, it would be gingivitis - a mild gum disease characterized by redness, inflammation, discharge of pus, and bleeding gums. But, when the condition intensifies over time, it can result in decay of tissues, loss of bone, loosening of teeth from their sockets, severe pain, etc.
It is a common misconception that periodontal disease affects only the elderly due to deteriorating oral health. In reality, periodontitis can affect any individual who doesn’t practice optimum oral hygiene and neglects their oral health. Hence, we emphasize routine dental consultations as they allow the dentist to check your mouth regularly for oral conditions and provide suitable treatment if required.
Periodontitis is known to be one of the driving factors behind health conditions, such as diabetes, heart ailments, stroke, etc. It also intensifies existing health concerns, as the microbes in the mouth tend to get dispersed throughout the body via the blood vessels. Patients with diabetes are especially affected by gum disease, as it could worsen due to the low tissue healing ability in these individuals.
The microbes causing gum disease can be transmitted from one individual to another by various means, such as sharing spoons and forks without washing them, kissing, drinking from the same utensils, taking a bite from the same food, etc. It is best to sterilize utensils frequently and avoid food sharing if you have a family member who has gum disease.
One of the most upsetting symptoms of periodontitis is bone loss. When the disease is left untreated for a long time, the microbes in the mouth can reach the jawbone. The bone could gradually deteriorate, leading to a change in facial shape, loosening of teeth from their sockets, and ultimately leading to tooth loss.
If you observe the symptoms of gum disease, please do not delay getting the necessary treatment.