Is There A Cure For Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is an infection of the gums (via the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research). When plaque, or bacteria, builds up on the teeth, it can harden and turn into tartar, which can't be cleaned by brushing alone. This buildup can lead to gum disease. Symptoms include persistent bad breath, swollen or tender gums, bleeding from the gums, pain when chewing, loose teeth, and receding gum lines.

Periodontitis can be the result of improper oral hygiene, such as lack of regular brushing and flossing (via WebMD). It can also be caused by smoking, hormonal changes, certain illnesses like HIV and diabetes, certain medications, and a family history of gum disease.

According to a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences, 20-50% of people worldwide are affected by periodontal disease. It has even been linked to other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and pregnancy risks.

What can you do about tooth plaque and tartar?

If gum disease goes untreated, it can lead to loosening of the teeth or even tooth loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. The bacteria from the infection can enter the bloodstream via the gums and affect other parts of the body. Typically, plaque results in gingivitis before turning into tartar and causing an infection. In gingivitis, the parts of the gums around the foundation of the teeth, called the gingiva, become irritated and inflamed. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, but luckily, it can be reversed.

Controlling the plaque on our teeth is the best way to prevent gingivitis. You can do this by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing regularly, getting dental cleanings at the dentist twice a year, and quitting smoking (via the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research).

If gingivitis isn't treated, pockets can form between the gums and teeth, catching bacteria and leading to infection. This can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, so much that the teeth become loose and eventually fall out (via WebMD). While gum disease can be treated to keep it from getting worse, it can't be cured. Make sure to practice good oral hygiene regularly to prevent this all-too-common disease.