Swollen gums or gingivitis is a common problem among the young and old and along with bleeding gums and gum sensitivity, is one of the first signs of gum disease
Plaque, a sticky layer of germs builds up around and between gums and teeth. If not removed, plaque builds up and can harden to form tartar. Once tartar has formed on the teeth, it makes bacteria harder to remove, even with regular brushing and flossing. Bacteria can break down the enamel in teeth and cause gum infection as it settles between gums and teeth.
Swollen gums can lead to periodontal disease or otherwise called gum disease. In its most advanced stages periodontal disease causes major damage to gums and bone that support the teeth, resulting in loose teeth that will most likely have to be extracted.
Gum disease is not a natural part of aging, but as we grow older we can become more susceptible to gingivitis and periodontitis for these reasons:
Swollen gums do not necessarily have to lead to loss of teeth. Brushing correctly twice a day and flossing are the best ways to prevent gingivitis. Follow these very important tips for preventing and treating gum infection:
There is growing evidence connecting the condition of teeth and gums to general health. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections.
Diabetes - We do know that people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing teeth and gum problems. When diabetes is out of control there is a higher risk for tooth decay and a lower resistance to infection which can lead to periodontal disease.
Osteoporosis - People with osteoporosis are at a higher risk of losing their teeth. Osteoporosis causes bones to lose their density. The jaw supports teeth. So if bone density in the jaw is low, teeth lose their anchor, and will eventually loosen and fall out or have to be extracted.
Heart disease - There is growing evidence that poor oral health is linked to hear disease. Researchers think that the bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation in the heart and plaques buildup in the blood vessels.
Stroke - Studies show that adults with gum disease may have increased risk of a stroke.
Respiratory disease - Bacteria from gum disease can cause or worsen respiratory conditions such as emphysema and pneumonia. Bacteria in the mouth can be inhaled to the lower respiratory tract during normal breathing and settle there. This can cause bacterial infections or worsen existing lung conditions.