Q:

What is gum disease?

A:

Quick Answer

Gum disease refers to inflammation of the soft tissues that surround the teeth as a result of the accumulation of plaque on the gum line. The plague forms from a mix of saliva, food particles and bacteria. The other name for gum disease is gingivitis.

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Full Answer

Gum disease is commonly an outcome of poor dental hygiene. The disease can also occur due to smoking and hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. It may result from certain medications that lessen the flow of saliva, such as cancer and cancer treatments. It can also result from poor nutrition such as a diet that is high in sugar and carbohydrates. A family history of dental diseases can also contribute to the development of gum disease.

Common symptoms of gum disease include red swollen gums that bleed easily during brushing and flossing. The disease causes loss of the bone that surrounds teeth, forming gum pockets. Bacteria breeds in these pockets resulting in sores and infection. In advanced stages, patients experience pain and loss of teeth.

Regular brushing and flossing of teeth eliminates mild gingivitis. Treatment options for advanced stages of the disease include a professional dental cleaning and antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics are in form of drugs or mouthwash.

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