The gums are the fundamental structures that hold the teeth. Together with the alveolar bone, they provide stability to the teeth and ensure that the teeth are held in position within the oral cavity. That being said, when there is gum disease, most often the teeth will be affected as well. Gingivitis is a common gum pathology, affecting almost all of the adult population. It is important for everyone to understand the basics of the occurrence of gingivitis and how to prevent it.
The progression of gingivitis is as follows. Initially, the microbial colonization cause changes in the epithelium layer, it then proliferates along the root surface in finger-like projections. What happens next is the coronal portion starts to detach from the root, and the apical portion begins to migrate (due to bacteria enzymes and physical force).
Following that, aggressive growth & action of Gram-negative bacteria start to occur. Furthermore, the emigration of neutrophils in great numbers cause disruption of the epithelial barrier. When the epithelial barrier of the gums is being disrupted, it causes open communication, loss of chemotactic gradient and tissue destruction. That progression of steps would then results in inflammation of the gum.
Therefore, this explains why patients with gingivitis have swollen, red gums that bleed easily upon toothbrushing or eating. Some people might even have the misconception that those are a regular phenomenon to have, but, in fact, it is not.
Gum disease can be prevented by diligent self-care of the oral cavity. It is crucial that patients understand the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing after each meal.
Periodontal maintenance (PM) is distinctly different than prophylaxis and is most commonly utilized for patients who have had active perio treatment. It is the ongoing treatment of periodontitis, which is a chronic and non-curable bacterial infection. The objective of PM is to keep the disease under control.
If the floss is not so suitable for all areas of the mouth, the dentist might recommend interdental brush especially for gaps between teeth that are large. Besides good oral hygiene habits, diet also plays a significant role. Drink water often and avoid consuming large amounts of junk food that affect the health of gums. Though it may sound cliche, fruits and vegetables are advisable for maintaining good health, even for oral health.
It is important to recognize periodontal disease in its early stage and take the measures necessary to prevent it from progressing into periodontitis. Six-monthly dental checkups would be beneficial to ensure that the gum condition is maintained at an excellent standard. As the gum is the foundation that supports the dentition, it should not be overlooked. Gingivitis is a reversible pathology with proper professional and self-cleansing. Kickstarting the habit of flossing once again and you’ll notice the signs of gingivitis improve.
In conclusion, there are various diagnosis to periodontal disease. The standard ones affecting the whole population would be gingivitis and chronic periodontitis. If you suspect you are developing some gum disease such as gingivitis, do consult your dentist or periodontist so that the disease doesn’t progress further.