Having a gum infection or gum disease will not only affect the health of your teeth and gums, but can also negatively affect the overall health of your body. If you think you may have a gum problem, you aren’t the only one. According to the Centers for Disease control, half of Americans have some kind of gum disease or infection. Gum infections are categorized into two types, periodontitis and gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the less severe of the two. This is where the infection is contained to the soft tissue around the teeth. Periodontitis is more severe. This is where the gum infection spreads from the soft tissue to the actual bones of the mouth. Periodontitis often results in severe tooth decay and tooth loss. Luckily you don’t start off with full blown periodontitis, but a small infection, if left unattended, can lead to severe problems.
What causes Gum Infection?
Gum infection is caused by the overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria is housed in plaque. If plaque is not removed regularly, it can lead to a hardened more aggressive state of bacteria called tartar, which severely aggravates the gums and causes them to draw away from the teeth. The gum disease causing bacteria live off of the food that you eat. Every time you eat, you are giving the bacteria in plaque and tartar more fuel to multiply.
How do you know if you have gum disease?
If your gums are sensitive to brushing, or bleed while brushing, you likely have a gum infection. Other signs of gum infection include redness and swelling, puss leaking from the teeth and gums and bad breath. You can often feel the swelling with your tongue. If prodding with your tongue causes any pain or puss leakage, you probably have gum disease.
What can you do to treat gum disease?
After a trip to the dentist for diagnosis, Gum disease treatment starts with proper dental care. Regular brushing and flossing are the keys to battling the bacteria. It’s important to clean all the bacteria filled plaque from your teeth before it becomes tartar. Plaque can build up in hard to reach places, between and behind teeth. A high quality electric toothbrush can make a big impact on the overall health of your mouth.
Why are electric toothbrushes better?
When you brush with a manual toothbrush, you may hit up to 400 strokes per minute, but an electric toothbrush can make up to 40,000 strokes per minute. That’s 10x the strokes per minute! The fact is that we simply don’t brush long enough with a manual toothbrush to hit every tooth for a long enough amount of time. Electric or sonic toothbrushes also help to force fluid in between the teeth for a better clean.
What other health issues are caused by gum infection?
Walking around with gum disease is walking around with an infection that your body is constantly fighting. While your immune system is working to cure you of the infection of the mouth it is weakened and may not be able to fight off other illnesses or infections. According to a recent study, people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Theories as to why include links in inflammation and immune response.
Having a healthy mouth can lead to a healthier life. We should all take proper precautions to prevent gum infection.