Healthy, pinkish gums are indicative of optimal oral health maintenance. However, if you have swollen, bleeding and sensitive gums, then indicates towards an underlying gum or periodontal problem.
How Gum Problems Develop?
Under healthy conditions, our gums remain firmly attached to our teeth and jaw bone. However, when we start ignoring our oral health through regular brushing and flossing, the attachment between the gums and teeth becomes loose, creating “pockets” where food particles and bacteria easily penetrate. The petrification of these food particles, along with the bacterial toxic products, result in an inflammation of the gums. If this inflammation is not reversed by maintaining good oral hygiene, the inflammation can travel towards the jaw bone and cause irreversible damage.
Types of Gum Diseases
Gum or periodontal diseases can be broadly classified into three types:
· Gingivitis – this is the mildest form of gum inflammation. In gingivitis, gums become red, swollen, and tend to bleed profusely while brushing and eating. Gingivitis can be easily reversed by ensuring optimal oral hygiene through regular brushing, flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash.
· Early Periodontitis – failure to improve oral hygiene during gingivitis results in the progression of the inflammation towards the periodontal ligament of the teeth. Periodontitis is caused due to the release of toxic agents released by bacteria that reside inside gum pockets. During this stage, gums become sensitive and bleed profusely. Periodontal attachment to the teeth are lost and there is irreversible damage to the jaw bone, resulting in increased mobility of the teeth within their sockets.
· Advanced Periodontitis – During this stage, there is widespread damage to the periodontal structures and jaw bone. Extensive resorption of the jaw bone results in extreme mobility and ultimately, avulsion of the teeth. Damage caused due to periodontitis is irreversible. Therefore, management usually involves artificial bone grafting and replacement of missing natural teeth.