Gum infection, also known as periodontitis, is a serious oral health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when bacteria in plaque build up on the teeth and gums, causing inflammation and eventually leading to the destruction of the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, gum infection can lead to tooth loss, jawbone damage, and other serious health problems.
The symptoms of gum infection include:
Red, swollen, or tender gums: This is a common sign of gum infection, indicating that the gums are inflamed and irritated.
Bleeding gums: People with gum infection may notice blood when brushing or flossing their teeth.
Receding gums: The gum line may appear to pull away from the teeth, exposing more of the tooth and creating pockets for bacteria to grow.
Loose teeth: The destruction of the supporting tissue and bone can cause the teeth to become loose and unstable.
Bad breath: Chronic bad breath is a common symptom of gum infection, caused by the presence of bacteria and decaying debris in the mouth.
Changes in bite: The shifting or movement of the teeth can cause changes in the bite and difficulty biting or chewing.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek treatment from a dentist or periodontist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage and preserve the health of the gums and teeth.
Treatment for gum infection depends on the severity of the condition. Mild cases of gum infection may be treated with a deep cleaning, known as scaling and root planing, to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. This procedure can be performed by a dentist or dental hygienist, and may be done with or without local anesthesia.
In more severe cases, a gum surgery may be required to treat the infection and repair the damage to the gums and supporting tissue. This may involve removing infected tissue, repairing or regenerating damaged bone, or grafting tissue to support the gums.
In addition to these procedures, a comprehensive oral hygiene program is essential for managing gum infection and preventing its recurrence. This may include:
Brushing and flossing regularly: Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day helps to remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums.
Using an antiseptic mouthwash: Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash can help to kill bacteria and freshen the breath.
Quitting smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for gum infection, and quitting can help to improve oral health and prevent further damage.
Eating a healthy diet: A diet that is rich in nutrients and low in sugar can help to support oral health and reduce the risk of gum infection.
Regular dental check-ups: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help to monitor the health of the gums and teeth, and catch any issues early.
Gum infection is a serious oral health problem that can have significant consequences if left untreated. If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum infection, it is important to seek treatment from a dentist or periodontist as soon as possible. With proper treatment and a comprehensive oral hygiene program, it is possible to manage gum infection and maintain good oral health.