A sticky film that forms on the teeth, soon after brushing, called plaque, is the main cause of gum disease. This film is not easily removed during mouth rinsing. When this plaque hardens over time, it becomes tartar. Plaque and tartar are the causes for gum disease.

Gum disease is basically of two types:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis

“Healthy gums do not bleed”

You may not be aware of either gingivitis or periodontitis as there is no pain. Some of the common symptoms however are:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus discharge between the teeth

During your dental check-up, the dentist will measure the gap between the tooth and the gums. The larger the gap, the more severe the disease.

Periodontal (gum) treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. In the early stages of the disease (gingivitis), cleaning of the teeth (scaling) will suffice. However, as the disease progresses, treatment also become more and more complicated.

Sometimes, more advanced type of treatment flap surgery may need to be done. Here the gums are opened up and scaling is done. Along with this any infected tissues in the gums are also removed. Along with flap surgery treatment like bone grafting and GTR (Guided Tissue Regeneration) may be done to increase the level of bone surrounding the teeth.

The answer is yes. Various studies over the last twenty years have found an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, lung disease and pregnancy complications (preterm low-birth weight babies) in patients with severe gum disease.

Proper brushing and flossing of teeth along with regular dental visits (at least every six months) will prevent most forms of gum disease.

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