Dental Plaque and Gum Disease

Dental Plaque and Gum Disease

Dental Plaque and Gum DiseaseBy Dr. Premendra Goyal

Dental Plaque is a soft sticky film which forms on the tooth surface. It comprises of leftover food in the mouth and many types of bacteria. Plaque, if left un-cleaned, hardens to form Tartar.

Dental Plaque is the main reason for inflaming / infecting the gums. This is called as Gum disease.

There are two main types of gum disease Gingivitis – which is a early form involving the superficial structures &  Periodontitis –  when the disease has progressed to deeper tissues  which surround the tooth and hold it firmly in the jaw bone.

It is very easy to remove Dental Plaque with proper brushing technique and following healthy habit of rinsing your mouth after every meal, however small the meal may have been. Eating anything – however small – is considered a meal in dental terms.

Here are a few things you need to know about Gum Disease…

Causes-

1. Poor Oral Hygiene:

This is the primary cause of gum disease. When lot of plaque accumulates on the tooth due to improper or insufficient cleaning, gums start getting affected.

2. Smoking:

Smoking and other tobacco products can lead to gum disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. More specifically, it appears that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease, and also seems to impair blood flow to the gums – which may affect wound healing.

3. Poor Immune System:

When your immune system is weakened due to some systemic disease or use of some medicines gums may get affected.

4. Diabetes:

Diabetes is one systemic disease which may cause lot of harm to the gums. Some studies also suggest that severe gum disease may cause Diabetes.

Symptoms-

1. Reddening or swelling of gums.

2. Bleeding from gums on brushing or eating

3. Bad Breath

4. Foul taste in the mouth

5. Pain on chewing

6. Loosening of teeth

Treatment-

There are a variety of treatments for gum disease depending on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your general health.

Treatments range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore gum tissues.

1. Professional Dental Cleaning: Removing the accumulated plaque and tartar on your teeth which in turn will promote gum healing. Professional dental cleaning is a very important preventive measure to stay away from gum disease.

2. Deep cleaning / Curettage: May be needed to remove the diseased tissue and remove deep seated tartar.

3. Surgeries: May be needed to restore lost bone by doing bone grafts or soft tissue grafts or even to clean the tartar and remove diseased tissue when the gum disease has progressed too deep.

4. Local medications like antiseptic mouthwashes, gels, toothpastes or sprays may be prescribed to reduce the bacterial population in the mouth and promote healing. Sometimes desensitizing toothpaste may also be advocated.

Regular maintenance of teeth and gums by brushing twice a day, flossing your teeth regularly and rinsing your mouth after every meal can go a long way in helping you fight dental plaque and in turn lots of oral diseases.