In gum disease and oral hygiene, the gums are inflamed. Another word for this is gingivitis. The gum disease can spread and progress to a severe form called periodontitis.
Gingivitis After insufficient cleaning of the teeth, plaque can remain. In some cases, this leads to inflammation of the gums: gingivitis. This inflammation can spread to the lower jawbone. The inflammation dissolves the jawbone.
Periodontal disease is advanced gum disease. The jaw bone dissolves and can eventually disappear. As a result, teeth and molars become loose and sometimes even lost. We call this stage periodontal disease. Gum disease can be treated to prevent the loss of teeth and molars.
Gum disease symptoms
Features of healthy gums:
- Fits tightly around the teeth
- Does not bleed when brushing or eating
Features of inflamed gums:
- Usually red
- Starts bleeding when touched
- Gums are ‘loose’ around the tooth
Characteristics of periodontal disease:
- Gums are loose around the tooth, even though the jaw bone is sometimes partially dissolved
- The swelling of the gums sometimes camouflages the loss of the jawbone. This makes it difficult to see how serious the situation is
- Typical mouth odor, due to bacteria causing the inflammation
- Unpleasant taste due to the bacteria causing the inflammation
If you think you have gum disease, you can see a dentist, dental hygienist, or periodontist. This is a dentist who specializes in gum treatments.
See also, Crooked teeth
How does gingivitis occur?
Gum disease is caused by insufficient oral hygiene. This will leave plaque on the teeth and molars. Dental plaque consists mainly of bacteria and food residues. The bacteria cause gum disease. Dental plaque is white or yellow in color and is therefore difficult to see.
When plaque becomes calcified, tartar is formed. This is a hard material that adheres firmly to the tooth surface. If plaque is not present, tartar cannot form.
New plaque can form in addition to the tartar and under the gums. This can calcify and turn into tartar. In this way the tartar moves further and further towards the jaw bone.
The inflammation then gets worse and the jawbone continues to be dissolved. The inflammation also breaks down the fibers that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. This makes the pocket deeper. This is the narrow space between gums and teeth. As this process progresses, the tooth will loosen up. This process is called periodontal disease. It can eventually lead to the loss of the tooth. The speed of ignition depends on:
- The type of bacteria found in the mouth
- Oral hygiene
- General resistance
- Living habits
- Smoking (this negatively affects the health of your gums and the ability to recover)
Gum disease bacteria increase the risk of Oral hygiene and other conditions
Did you know that severe gum disease can adversely affect other diseases? The bacteria from the mouth produce toxic substances. These so-called toxins can enter the bloodstream and cause serious conditions or worsen symptoms of disease. There is a relationship between severe gingivitis and the following syndromes:
- Heart and vascular disease
- Premature birth during pregnancy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Alzheimer’s disease
Is it serious and what can you expect?
Gum disease sometimes starts harmlessly, but can be present for a long time without being noticed. The swelling of the gums camouflages the bone destruction, so that the inflammation is hardly visible. That is why it is wise to visit the dentist regularly. This can prevent you from having inflammation that has not been noticed for a long time. In some people this leads to the loss of one or more teeth.
When to the dentist?
To the dentist It makes sense to visit the dentist regularly for check-ups. If the dentist detects inflammation in you, he can treat you or refer you to a dental hygienist or periodontist. Treatment must be supported by good oral hygiene. He will explain how best to brush with a ‘normal’ toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. The use of toothpicks and flossing are also part of the treatment.
Much of the success of the treatment lies in achieving good oral hygiene. After treatment, your gums are healthy again, but may have receded somewhat due to the bone breakdown. In some cases, for example, a periodontist can correct this situation.
If you suffer from gingivitis, you will notice that your gums are sensitive and bleed when brushing. If you suffer from periodontal disease, you may have noticed that teeth and / or molars have become loose. In most cases, however, it will be your dentist who will alert you to periodontal disease.
The dentist can remove plaque and thus the source of the infection. This treatment can also be done by a dental hygienist or periodontist.
What can you do about Gum disease and oral hygiene, yourself?
Good oral hygiene is important in preventing gum disease. We call gingivitis starting gum disease. This can be remedied by good oral hygiene, such as brushing two or three times a day and using toothpicks and dental floss. Just rinsing with rinse aid is not enough. If you have tartar under the gums, it is best to consult your dentist or dental hygienist. In severe cases, the periodontist can help you.
General advice and precautions
You can help prevent gum disease by:
- Good oral hygiene, such as brushing well two to three times a day and using toothpicks and dental floss. Your dentist or dental hygienist can give you instructions on how to best use these remedies
- Regular check-ups with your dentist
- If your gums are bleeding, don’t avoid that area. The plaque causes the bleeding and it must be removed.