Gum Disease or Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that deteriorates the gum and bone tissues. There are several variations of the disease with a range of severity levels. Gum disease could show presence from mild gum inflammation or in more serious forms that cause severe soft tissue and bone damage.
In simple terms, gum disease is caused by bad oral hygiene habits. Our mouths are exposed to a lot of bacteria every day. The bacteria converts into plaque, which is easily removed by flossing and brushing. However, if we fail to remove plaque it hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. The longer tartar or plaque sits on our teeth, the more at risk we are. The bacteria causes gum inflammation called gingivitis and can advance into periodontitis. Periodontitis is inflammation around the tooth. The gum tissue begins to separate from the tooth, which can potentially result in infection. Studies suggest that gum disease can lead to serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and diabetes.
Surprisingly, gum disease is very common condition among adults. There are more than 3 million cases of gum disease diagnosed every year in the United States. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that gum disease is continuing to rise among American adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over has gum disease. It seems that the chance of being diagnosed with gum disease gets more prevalent as adults age. A study conducted by the Journal of Dental Research in 2010, found that gum disease rates are 70.1 percent higher among adults who are 65 years old and older.
To prevent gum disease, it’s recommended to brush and floss your teeth daily. However, if a gum disease diagnosis is made, there are plenty of treatment options. Treatment methods depend entirely on the severity of the disease. It’s suggested that you receive routine gum disease treatments from the dentist. The dentist or dental hygienist will clear tartar and bacteria from your teeth by scaling and root planing. Scaling is when they scrape tartar from around the gums. Root planing is the process of cleaning the tooth root. Gum disease treatments will greatly reduce the chances of severe gum infection and inflammation.
In the unfortunate event, that the disease is severe the patient will need to undergo surgery.
There are two common types of surgery, flap surgery and bone and tissue surgery. During flap surgery, the dentist will remove tartar and bacteria pockets from directly underneath the gums. The gums will be sutured back around the teeth tightly, minimizing the chance of bacteria exposure. During a bone and tissue surgical procedure, synthetic tissue and bone grafts are installed in order to promote the regeneration of bone tissue lost from infection.