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FAQs - Gum Disease

Yes, they may include:

 

  • Heart & Stroke Disease- Studies suggest gingivitis may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the high levels of bacteria found in infected areas of the mouth. As the level of periodontal disease increases, the risk of cardiovascular disease may increase with it. Other studies have suggested that the inflammation in the gums may create a chronic inflammation response in other parts of the body which has also been implicated in increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes - People with diabetes often have some form of gum disease, likely caused by high blood glucose, according to the CDC. People with diabetes need to take extra care to ensure proper brushing and flossing techniques are used to prevent the advancement of the gum disease. Regular check-ups and cleanings with your dental hygienist should be followed.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease - A study, conducted by Case Western Reserve University, suggests that people without any natural teeth, known as edentulous, are more likely to have chronic kidney disease (CDK), than people with natural teeth. CDK affects blood pressure potentially causing heart disease, contributed to kidney failure, and affects bone health.
  • Pretmature Birth - Babies that are born premature -- before 37 weeks of gestation -- may face numerous health complications. Research indicates that women with periodontal disease are three to five times more likely to have a baby born preterm compared to women without any form of gum disease. Women are more susceptible to gingivitis when pregnant and should follow their regular brushing habits, and continue with dental cleanings and examinations.
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  • Red, bleeding, and/or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Mobility of the teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity caused by receding gums
  • Abscessed teeth
  • Tooth loss
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  • Gingivitis - The beginning stage of gum disease and is often undetected. This stage of the disease is reversible.
  • Periodontitis - Untreated gingivitis may lead to this next stage of gum disease. With many levels of periodontitis, the common outcome is chronic inflammatory response, a condition when the body breaks down the bone and tissue in the infected area of the mouth, ultimately resulting in tooth and bone loss.
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Gingivitus is an infection within the gums caused by bacteria found in plaque. A diabetic's body doesn't respond as quickly to infection as a non-diabetic. If the infection persists, it can spread to the underlying bone that supports and anchors the teeth.

It has been shown that diabetics who keep their condition under control and maintain good oral hygiene have a far better chance of combating infections than those who are poorly controlled.

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Proper brushing and flossing is the easiest way to reduce and prevent gum disease, but regular cleanings with your dental hygienist or dentist are necessary to remove calculus and treat advanced gum disease. If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, contact your dentist.

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In the earlier states of gum disease (mild to moderate periodontitis), most treatment involves scaling and root planning. The procedure aims at removing plaque and calculus from the surface of the tooth adjacent to gum tissue.

In the majority of early gum disease cases, treatment entails improved home care techniques and scaling and root planning.

Advanced cases may require surgical treatment.

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As the plaque and calculus accumulate, the periodontal disease continues. Supporting tissues around the teeth (gums, periodontal ligaments, bone) are lost.

Periodontal pockets form which trap additional plaque. Bad breath often accompanies this condition. Once the bone that supports the teeth is lost, it will not regrow without surgical intervention.

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A periodontist is a dental specialist that has not only completed 4 years of dental school, but has also completed an additional 3 years of specialty training in diagnosing, preventing and treating gum disease. Periodontists can also place dental implants as well as perform cosmetic periodontal treatments.

A periodontal evaluation is sometimes the only way to detect gum disease. Your dentist can refer you to a periodontist, or you can make your own appointment for an evaluation.

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Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease may include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Certain medications
  • Genetics
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Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria found in plaque. If plaque is not regularly removed, it calcifies into a rough, porous deposit called calculus, or tartar. By products of bacterial metabolism irritate the gums, making them red, tender, swollen and more prone to bleed.

Eventually, the supporting periodontal structures begin to breakdown. The result of this slow process is tissue loss, bone loss and eventual tooth loss.

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Conscientious removal of plaque by flossing, brushing and regular professional cleanings will minimise your risk of gum disease.

However, there are other factors that can affect the health of your gums, such as stress, diabetes, genetics and pregnancy.

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Trench mouth is a painful and severe gum infection. This infection occurs because of high bacteria levels in the mouth, usually from poor oral hygiene. Trench mouth can also be caused from lack of sleep, stress and / or poor nutrition. Trench mouth occurs more in smokers than non-smokers.

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Depending on the type of gum disease, some of the available treatment options are:

  • Removal of plaque and calculus by way of scaling done by your dental hygienist or dentist.
  • Medications such as chlorhexidine gluconate, a mouth rinse prescribed by your dentist or hygienist to help kill the bacteria in your mouth, along with frequent cleanings.
  • Surgery may be necessary in certain cases to stop, halt, or minimize the progression of periodontal disease. Surgery is also used to replace bone that was lost in advanced stages of the disease.
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