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Gum Disease and Bad Oral Hygiene – Everything You Need to Know

Gum Disease and Bad Oral Hygiene – Everything You Need to Know

According to the CDC, 47.2% of people in the US have some form of periodontal disease. As defined by the National Institutes of Health, periodontal disease refers to infection and inflammation that adversely impact your teeth's supporting tissues, tooth sockets, gums, and periodontal ligaments. 

Periodontal disease is typically caused by a buildup of plaque — a colorless, sticky substance on your teeth. It contains toxins and bacteria, and if not removed every day through brushing, it can cause infection in your teeth and gums. Therefore, you must incorporate an oral care regime with the best dental care products available. This blog discusses two main types of periodontal diseases: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis

It's a mild form of periodontal disease. But if it's not taken care of, it can lead to a more severe case of periodontitis. According to the DC Dental Society, gingivitis is ubiquitous, with nearly half of the population experiencing it in at least four or more teeth. People at risk are practicing poor oral hygiene, smokers, old adults, substance abusers, uncontrolled diabetes, decreased immunity, and poor nutrition.

Gingivitis is primarily a result of poor dental care allowing plaque to accumulate on the teeth. It develops when the bacteria in your mouth react with starch and sugar in your food. It grows at a really fast rate. That's why it's vital to floss and brush your teeth every day to get rid of it. 

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Causes

Dentists at the National Institutes of Health warn that if you don't regularly remove plaque from your teeth, it turns into tartar — a hard substance deposited at the base of your teeth. Both tartar and plaque can cause inflamed gums, producing toxins and bacteria. Along with bad oral hygiene, other causes of gingivitis include:

  • Intake of medications like bismuth (used for treating diarrhea and upset stomach) and phenytoin (taken to control seizures)
  • Rugged edged dental fillings
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Contraceptive pills
  • Dirty mouth appliances like braces or Invisalign
  • Infections and diseases like HIV, thyroid disorders, and nutrient deficiencies
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy and adolescence

If tartar and plaque stay on your teeth for long, they can irritate the gingiva — your tooth's base and result in tooth loss and decay.

Symptoms

If your gums are healthy, they'll be firm and have light pink color to them. Since gingivitis isn't painful, it often goes unnoticed. Therefore, we advise that you check your mouth for the following symptoms to get your treatment started ASAP:

  • Soft gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gum while brushing teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Bad breath
  • Shiny gums
  • Red gums

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Prevention

You'll do yourself the best favor by practicing good oral care. We recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush for at least two minutes. You must also floss once a day for interdental cleaning. To ensure that there's no plaque buildup over time, get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year.

If your symptoms are bad, we would recommend that you brush and floss your teeth after every meal and use plaque removing devices like water irrigation tools, toothpicks, and best Ionic Oral Care toothbrush

Periodontitis

If you ignore your gingivitis, it can lead to a more severe condition called periodontitis. This gum disease can destroy your gum tissues, teeth, and bones in your mouth. According to the NIH, it's the most prevalent cause of adult tooth loss.

If you don't remove the plaque with regular brushing, it can release toxins into your gum tissue and cause your teeth to break down. According to a study by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, periodontitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, making pockets in between. If not treated right, these pockets will get infected and lead your teeth to become loose and fall off. 

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The American Academy of Periodontology reports that there are different kinds of periodontitis, like:

  • Aggressive periodontitis — characterized by bone destruction and rapid gum loss.
  • Chronic periodontitis — characterized by gum recession and pocket formation.
  • Periodontitis leading to a systemic disease — characterized by diabetes, respiratory problems, and heart diseases.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis — characterized by the death of periodontal ligaments, gum tissue, and alveolar bones (common in people with immunosuppression, HIV, and malnutrition).

Causes

  • Illnesses like HIV and cancer which impact your immune system.
  • Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause
  • Smoking — making it hard to repair gum tissues
  • Poor oral care habits
  • Family history of gingivitis
  • Ongoing gum inflammation
  • Medication that reduces the production of saliva, like anti-angina and anticonvulsant drugs.

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Symptoms

As we've already discussed that healthy gums are firm with a pale pink hue. Below are some of the other symptoms that you need to look out for:

  • Bright red and swollen gums
  • Receding gums making your teeth look longer
  • Tender gums
  • A bad taste in the mouth and foul breath 
  • Pus around gums and teeth
  • Spaces between teeth
  • Change in the way that teeth fit when biting

Prevention

Like gingivitis, the best preventative measure is to practice good dental hygiene. It includes flossing once a day and brushing twice a day. Consult your dentist, as they may suggest increasing the regularity of oral care. Get your teeth cleaned by a dentist twice a year, but if you smoke, take blood pressure pills, or have dry mouth, we recommend doing this more often.

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