Gum disease is widely prevalent all around the world. All of us at some time of life might have experienced gum disease in one form or the other.
The most obvious reason for gum disease is bacterial plaque which constantly irritates the gums as well as stimulates immune system of the body by releasing chemicals and toxins that eventually cause destruction of gums and bone. In certain conditions, the response to bacterial gums is exaggerated such as pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, puberty and diabetes. Other aggravating factors for gum disease include smoking, food retention and packing between teeth and gums, improperly positioned teeth, mouth breathing, drugs, stress and hereditary diseases. The following table highlights signs and symptoms, prevention and management of gum diseases.
Bleeding gums. Swollen, red gums. Shiny appearance of gums Sensitivity to hot and cold foods. Receded gums. Change in taste. Bad smell. Dull, continuous pain. Reduced attachment
Maintaining good oral hygiene by proper tooth brushing and flossing. Correction of underlying problem to prevent further deterioration.
Scaling and polishing of teeth. Normal saline water rinses. Mouthwashes containing Chlorhexidine or Cetylpyridinium Chloride.* If gum disease is accompanied with face swelling, fever, antibiotics may be required. If gums are swollen and enlarged, the overgrown portion of the gums may need to be surgically removed. If gums have receded to a greater degree, a minor surgery of gum tissue to the tooth thus creating a space in between. Pus. may be required to reposition the gum over the tooth.
*Please note that using Chlorhexidine mouthwash along with Fluoride (either from toothpaste or mouthwash) can cause reduced activity of both the agents, therefore a gap of 30 minutes to 90 minutes should be allowed between the use of two agents. Therefore make sure that you do not use Chlorhexidine containing mouth- wash immediately after Fluoride toothpaste.
Gum disease can lead to periodontitis which can cause tooth loss, abscess forma- tion and preterm babies.