A Guide to Gum Infections
While there are many different types of gum infection that affect high numbers of people during their lifetime, the issue is something that is easily preventable with an effective daily oral health routine.
This type of ailment usually occurs in the soft tissues around the teeth and is caused by a build-up of bacteria that has collected as plaque and saturated into the gum line. When this substance is able to thrive on food particles and sugars in the mouth, an acidic waste is produced that causes tooth decay and cavities.
For patients who carry out an efficient cleaning routine every day, it is extremely likely they will be able to avoid this problem. However, those who do not are leaving themselves at risk of a vast array of oral health conditions that could ultimately result in the loss of a pearly white.
What are the symptoms of a gum infection?
Although many people may fail to recognise the telltale signs of a gum infection, there are a number of things they could look out for. It is important for individuals to monitor the overall health of their teeth and gums on a regular basis because some of the symptoms may go unnoticed for a long period of time. These include:
- Inflamed gums
- Receding soft tissue
- Gaps emerging between the teeth
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Swollen gums
- Soreness or tenderness in the mouth
- The development of sores
- Bright red soft tissue
- Loosened pearly whites
- Changes in the bite
- Pus between teeth and gums
What is gum disease?
The term gum disease is used to describe swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues that keep the pearly whites in place, while the condition can present itself in one of two categories: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis occurs when the gums become inflamed – meaning they become red and swollen – as well as bleeding occasionally during brushing.
On the other hand, periodontal disease develops if the latter condition is left untreated for a long period of time. While there are a number of types of this condition, they all have a negative effect on the tissue supporting the pearly whites.
If it is left to progress, this condition can cause the erosion of the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw, causing them to become loose. Patients who fail to seek the guidance of a dental professional in cases such as this face losing their teeth.
Am I at risk of developing gum disease?
Unfortunately, a high number of people fall victim to the condition during one time of their life or another. The ailment – which is the leading major cause of tooth loss among adults – can be slowed down if individuals seek assistance, which means they can keep their pearly whites intact for a longer period of time.
The real danger with gum disease is that it can progress painlessly and sufferers may not notice the damage it is causing. However, in some cases, the bacteria become more active and can make the gum sore, which – in turn – can result in the development of an abscess.
When this occurs, pus may ooze from around the pearly whites, while the bone supporting them can be lost. Treating the issue becomes significantly more difficult in cases where symptoms are left to develop for a long period of time.
The first sign patients should look out for when assessing their overall oral health is blood on their toothbrush or in the water they use during a cleaning routine. In some cases, individuals may find the tissue bleeds when they are eating, which can leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Should this take place, members of the public should immediately book an appointment with a dental professional for an extensive check-up of their teeth and gums. Often, a dentist will measure the space around each tooth to determine whether periodontal disease has started.
Following this, a series of X-rays will be taken to see the amount of bone that has been lost and to help the practitioner decide what course of action to take in a bid to reverse the issue.
What treatment can I seek?
A high number of individuals could be pleasantly surprised to hear a thorough cleaning of the pearly whites carried out in a professional clinic is often enough to ward off the symptoms of gum disease. This process will often take a number of sessions to carry out.
Following this, a dentist may decide to administer further procedures on the roots of the teeth to ensure the last pockets of bacteria are removed. Referred to as “root planning”, this course of action requires the use of local anaesthetic to numb the surrounding area. Patients who have undergone this process may feel discomfort for up to two days afterwards.
Are there any other factors to consider?
Usually, gum infections are caused by the development of bad bacteria, but this is not to say there is only one. The others include:
- Certain medications
- Poor diet
- Hormonal changes
Can gum disease strike again?
Although the symptoms of periodontal disease can be treated, they are never actually cured. For this reason, controlling the signs is vital to enjoying strong, healthy teeth and gums for as long as possible. An effective oral health routine is vital and should be carried out at home every day to ensure any further loss of bone is slowed considerably or stopped altogether.
What are gum boils?
Gum boils are the drainage points for abscesses that have developed in the roots of teeth. When the nerve of a tooth dies, it usually leaves the pearly white near the base, which causes the body to send white blood cells to destroy the infection and form an abscess.
If left untreated, the growth can break through the soft tissues of the mouth and drain.
Are there any symptoms?
Despite the fact they are not located in or above a pearly white, gum boils often cause severe toothache due to the pressure the inflammation places on the nerves.
There are a number of other symptoms, including: nauseas, fever, swollen glands, tooth sensitivity, redness in the mouth or face, tenderness, breath odour, pain while chewing, diarrhoea.
How are they treated?
In cases where a gum boil has developed, patients will need to visit their dental professional, who will initially drain the abscess. Following this, patients usually require root canal treatment.
The practice is open Seven days a week from 8am to 11pm for routine dentistry and we offer a 24 hour emergency dental walk-in service 365 days a year. You can book a consultation at any time by calling our reception team 24 hours a day on 0208 547 9997 or contact us during our working hours by email.