Gum Disease - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Gum Disease

Prior to the 1960's it was common in rural America to have all of your teeth pulled and a complete set of dentures for your high school graduation present. It was thought that since complete tooth loss was inevitable why not avoid the pain, suffering and expense along the way. The major cause for this tooth loss was periodontal disease (gum disease). Today, we know that gum disease is a bacterial infection, which is preventable and treatable in most cases. Keeping your own teeth for life is our primary goal at Delmarva Dental Services.

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is caused by a group of bacteria that stick to the tooth under the gum line between the teeth. This is because they do not like oxygen (anaerobes). This film (plaque) is a biofilm with many layers containing different species of bacteria and their by-products. The bacteria live in an ecosystem supporting each other, actually communicating, and utilizing one another's by-products. If the biofilm (plaque) is not disrupted regularly it becomes more organized and the body begins to make chemicals in response to it. These chemicals break down gum tissue and bone.

Preventing gum disease involves disrupting the biofilm's (plaque) organization on all surfaces of the teeth at the gum line. This is primarily done once a day with tooth brushing and flossing. There also are other home care products available to help. In addition, regular tooth cleanings (prophylaxis) by a dental hygienist are necessary.

Once periodontal disease (gum disease) develops, treatment is more complicated. In early gum disease, treatment involves a procedure called scaling and root planning. In more severe gum disease scaling and root planing is necessary as well as gum surgery. Home care is more complicated since getting to the biofilm is harder due to defects caused by the gum and bone destruction.

In some cases the teeth have to be extracted because there is not enough bone to support them.

Healthy Gums Healthy Gums
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