The gums support the teeth so they can function properly. Healthy gums have a light pink color, no swelling and no tenderness. When the gums are healthy, they do not bleed during routine dental care. In some cases, infection develops in the gums and causes bleeding, swelling and tenderness. Without proper treatment, this infection worsens and causes periodontitis.
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Several types of periodontitis affect the gums. Chronic periodontitis causes ongoing inflammation and leads to bone loss. In this type of periodontitis, the gums recess and pockets form where the infection erodes the jawbone. Aggressive periodontitis causes rapid destruction of the bone and attachment loss. Attachment loss refers to a reduction in the tissue that attaches the tooth root to the bone. Necrotizing periodontitis causes the death of the tissues that make up the gums and periodontal ligaments, according to Perio.org, a website published by the American Academy of Periodontology.
MayoClinic.com explains that periodontitis begins when plaque remains on the teeth and hardens into tartar. The tartar harbors bacteria and makes the plaque more difficult to remove. When gingivitis starts, it causes inflammation and irritation of the gums. When it develops into the deep infection of periodontitis, it causes the pockets to form between the gums and teeth. These pockets fill up with bacteria, tartar and plaque, allowing the infection to advance under the gumline.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of deep gum infection include bad breath, inflamed gums, tenderness of the gums, swelling of the gums, loose teeth and gums that bleed easily. As the infection advances, gum pockets and tooth loss also signal severe periodontitis.
MedlinePlus explains that treatment goals for deep gum infection patients include the elimination of pockets and reduction of inflammation. Treatment providers also seek to identify any underlying causes of the infection. Treatment options include teeth cleaning and the use of good oral hygiene to prevent complications. Some dentists scale the teeth, which involves using instruments to loosen and remove tartar deposits from the teeth. In some cases, deep gum infection requires surgery to open and clean deep pockets, provide a better foundation for loose teeth or remove one or more teeth.
Good oral hygiene reduces the chance of gingivitis, which helps to prevent deep gum infections. Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice each day, as recommended by the Douglas County Health Department in Tuscola, Illinois. People should also floss once each day and get regular professional dental cleanings.