How do Gum Diseases develop?
Gingivitis and periodontitis are the most frequently
occurring gum diseases. The first (gingivitis) is the
simple inflammation of the gums next to the teeth,
caused by the bacteria found in the dental plaque, the
thin, sticky, whitish film that constantly forms and
adheres to the dental surface. With gingivitis the gums
become red, swollen and easily bleeding.
If not controlled and treated with an adequate oral
hygiene and, when necessary, with the appropriate
professional intervention, gingivitis can progress to
periodontitis, which is a much more serious condition
that can result in tooth loss over a period of time.
Periodontitis is characterized by a progressive
deterioration of the gums and the bone around the teeth.
The gums separate from the teeth, leading to the
formation of small pockets (filled with plaque and
tartar) between the teeth and the gums. As the
inflammatory process progresses, these pockets enlarge
and deepen, causing the destruction of the gum tissues
and the bone supporting the teeth, which eventually
leads to tooth loss.
It has been shown that, besides tooth loss, there are
other health risks associated with gum disease,
including an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Other hypothesized health risks (which actually have not
been conclusively proven) include an increased risk of
delivering preterm babies and difficulty controlling
blood sugar levels in diabetes patients.
an inadequate oral hygiene is the main cause leading to
gum diseases, it has been shown that there are many risk
factors associated with the development of this
condition, including genetic susceptibility, hormonal
changes in women, smoking, stress, the use of
medications which reduce salivary flow (certain
antidepressants and heart drugs), as well as certain
diseases or conditions such as diabetes, cancer and
Gum Diseases risk factors
for genetic susceptibility, all the above risk factors,
as well as the main cause of gum diseases (that is an
inadequate oral hygiene), can be easily controlled and
managed. Thatís why gum diseases are largely preventable
conditions. Primary preventive measures include brushing
the teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride
toothpaste to remove the dental plaque, flossing
everyday, visiting the dentist regularly, adopting a
well balanced diet and not smoking or using other
of gum diseases widely varies depending on the severity
and extent of the disease. Both non-surgical and
surgical treatments are available. Deep cleaning by a
dentist is perhaps the less invasive treatment,
consisting in the removal of plaque and tartar from the
crowns and the roots of the teeth. This procedure is
sometimes combined with the use of specific antibiotic
or antiseptic medications.
deep cleaning is not enough to cure gum diseases,
surgical treatment is recommended. In any case, the
successful outcome of treatment, whether non-surgical of
surgical, strictly depends on the patientís self care
behaviour, especially his or her ability in maintaining
an adequate oral hygiene and managing other risk factors
such as diet and smoking.
treatment of gum diseases is always expensive. Thatís
why it is advisable that its cost is covered by an
appropriate international health insurance plan before
the gum disease arises.