Gum Disease: Symptoms & Treatment

Gums are one of the parts of the tooth-supporting system. Why is this tissue so important? Believe it or not, it takes part in the chewing process. Besides, it protects the bone and the teeth enforcing them against strong masticatory forces.

How do I know that my gums are healthy?

Normal, healthy gums have no signs of inflammation or tumorous masses. But how do you know that everything is as it should be? Well, first of all – the colour. It is the first thing that you notice. Healthy gums are coral pink with no other kinds of markings. The structure is smooth with no lumps. And most importantly – healthy gums don’t bleed.

 How do I know that my gums aren’t looking good?

The first thing one notices is a spontaneous or provoked bleeding of the gums during brushing or even when taking certain food. Gums can change colour from firing red to necrotic grey. Those colour changings may affect the whole area or some local parts around particular teeth. The inflammation of the gums starts from the coronary parts of the gingiva (free gingiva). It is the part that covers the neck of the tooth (in the area of the largest diameter of the neck of the tooth). It looks like a burning red line. The initial bleeding sometimes starts even before the colour changes. Most people get confused then and think as if something is going wrong and that is the first sign that leads them to the dentist. Often people stop brushing the bleeding areas because they don’t feel comfortable with unknown blood on their toothbrush, but the explanation will be provided later. The point is – never stop brushing. If the inflammation progresses, it can lead to some major structural changes. The tissue becomes lumpy and here and there softer. The papillae (the part between teeth) may grow into a bigger lump. Sometimes it can grow to the size of a pea. In some extreme cases, the gums become grey and painfull. This state is accompanied by bad breath and teeth migration (and even falling out if the bone is destructed also!). The gums necrotize. It often happens within some severe general states such as HIV infection, some autoimmune diseases (lupus etc.) in patients who don’t take decent oral hygiene.

What are the risk factors?

Plaque. Poor oral hygiene brings more and more food which is, in the beginning, soft and removable but as the saliva mineralizes those leftovers they become hard and unremovable and attached to the crown. Not only food there are also several types of bacteria. Those hard stains compress gingiva so it becomes inflamed and local bacteria produce toxins that destroy gums and periodontal tissue (fibres between the root and the bone). Of course, some medications and hormonal disbalance (pregnancy)  may cause some changing in gums structure and local metabolism but after excluding these factors gums become healthy again. Also, in the case of bad dentures, the same gum inflammation may occur. Bad pressure is equal to gum disease, along with bad hygiene.

What can I do?

Just brush it. There are no medications needed. Do the hygiene. Brush three times a day. Adopt some healthy life habits. Eat less sugar and sweets. Even if you do, then eat it after some main meal and after that brush the teeth. And eat nothing until the next meal. Brush using a proper technique. Use combined moves and brush both the teeth and the gums. A good massage helps the tissue receives more blood and nutrients and anti-bodies. Use a non-electric toothbrush. Your hand can make a variety of moves, unlike the electric tooth-brush which makes only one – rotatory. It just replaces the food leftovers from one surface to another –  inside the mouth. If you see the bleeding don’t stop, brush even harder. It will remove the soft stains and massage the gums to restore the normal circulation.

Don’t smoke. Nicotine will compress the blood vessels so there will be less blood in the soft tissue which means less oxygen and fewer antibodies.

Take care of general health. A healthy lifestyle and variable and balanced diet keep your body and mind in a good shape. And your teeth also.

Read How to tell if You have tooth decay

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