Gums are the tissues that surround and support teeth. They provide the required hold to the teeth so that they stay rigid and functional for a long time. Gingival or gum tissues play a major role in preventing the teeth from falling. Most of the time, the patients that arrive at our dental clinic in Edmonton seeking help for tooth loss have unhealthy gums or are suffering from gum diseases. Gingival diseases are the number one cause of tooth loss.
Gum diseases are categorized into two categories- gingivitis and periodontitis. When the gingival tissue gets affected by gingivitis or periodontitis, the gums get weakened and start losing their hold on the teeth. This exposes the roots of the teeth and they can get damaged by disease causing bacteria. Gingivitis is not to be confused with periodontal diseases as they have different effects on the gums and oral health.
Periodontitis and gingivitis have similar symptoms but gingivitis cannot be akin to periodontitis as it is a disease that affects only the gums, while periodontitis harms the entire tooth structure. To understand the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis, you must understand the diseases first.
What is Gingivitis
There are several cultures of bacteria living in our mouth. Some bacteria are good for us and some of them are harmful to our oral health. When the harmful bacteria get access to our mouth, they make contact with our teeth and gums. Once the bacterial accumulation is enough to hold particles of food, they start feeding and multiplying on the food residue left behind in our mouths. The mixture of food residue and bacteria creates plaque (a sticky substance that stays on our teeth).
Plaque is bad for the natural pH balance of the mouth. Eating junk good or consuming tobacco turns the mouth acidic. Bacteria keep breeding due to such acidic conditions. Whenever the nutrition level in the plaque accumulation reduces, bacteria start feeding on the gum. Plaque grows more around the gums and they take shelter inside the very little space between teeth and gums. When the plaque accumulation hardens it forms tartar. Tartar harms the gingival tissues and the gums get inflamed. This condition is known as gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the cause of bad breath and problems of the gums like:
- – Tenderness in the gums
- – Swollen or puffy gums
- – Redness in gums due to irritation and inflammation
- – Bleeding gums
- – Loose gum grip due to extensive inflammation
When you’re affected by gingivitis, the effects do not cause any immediate harm to your teeth. Your teeth are still intact but neglecting the issue of plaque or tartar accumulation can have more severe effects on your teeth. If proper oral hygiene is not followed, the gums can get detached from the teeth and the bacteria get access to the dentin and pulp of the teeth.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gingivitis. Periodontitis occurs when the symptoms of gingivitis are not treated. Periodontitis affects the internal parts of the tooth and the gums. When the plaque accumulation is neglected the bacteria start feeding on the gingival tissue. Plaque damages a large part of the gums and they reveal more area of teeth. This is known as gum recession.
Gum recession exposes the surface of teeth that is covered by gums. The bacterial infection can then reach the root of the teeth which does not have the solidity of protective enamel. Due to the lack of enamel, it’s easy for the bacteria to damage the roots.
In periodontitis, the bacteria eat up the upper layer of the teeth resulting in the formation of space around the gums. These spaces are known as periodontal pockets. These pockets provide shelter to further bacterial accumulation. The bacteria then gets access to the soft internal part of a tooth and causes infection inside the root and the remaining gum tissue. The infection between gums and root is called a periodontal abscess. Gradually, periodontitis deteriorates the roots, and you may lose your jaw bone and teeth. If you have periodontitis you may experience symptoms like:
- – Teeth appearing longer than normal length due to receding gums
- – Developing spaces between the teeth
- – Pus discharge from the gums or pain in the teeth occurring due to infection between teeth and gums
- – Slackening of the teeth from the grip of gums
- – Pain in the molars when chewing food
- – Changing bite alignment and teeth structure
If you experience these symptoms, you must get proper dental healthcare treatment at a dental clinic in Edmonton. Gingivitis is the warning sign that tells that you need to take better care of your teeth. Periodontitis is a disease that is hard to get rid of. When your body’s immune system tries to fight off the infection, the gums get more affected by inflammation and the plaque moves further inside the gums. This process of periodontitis should be prevented by visiting a dentist and getting dental treatments.
People who practice good oral hygiene are also prone to periodontitis. Plaque accumulation affects the oral cavity at all times and cannot be cleaned totally. This is because there are areas around the teeth that can hide the plaque. So a dental cleanup from a dental hygienist is necessary.
The causes of gingivitis and periodontitis are similar. Smoking tobacco or use of tobacco in any form is harmful to the microbiome of the dental cavity and increases the accumulation of bacteria. Poor nutrition impairs the immune system. This makes the gums more prone to gingivitis and periodontitis. And lastly, periodontitis can sometimes also be hereditary. If you have a family history of unhealthy teeth, you can also be under the risk of periodontitis.
If you have noticed swelling and redness in your gums, it could be a sign of gingivitis. Neglecting such symptoms can put your dental and overall health to risk. For any dental disease prevention, you can contact our dentist and dental hygienist at Motivo Dental. We’ll take care of your oral hygiene and dental health.