Sometimes called the Silent Disease because it is not always accompanied by pain, periodontal disease is basically a disease of the gums.
Because it’s not usually painful, periodontal disease tends to be undetected. Many people do not think much of a tooth that has fallen out, or even when tooth decay causes pain when in fact, these are symptoms of periodontal disease of diffferent stages.
To protect the health of gums, brushing and correct removal of tartar everyday is very important.
One of the plaque-induced inflammatory conditions is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. It affects 98% of children. However, they do not usually have the organism Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans or bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis, they are at low risk of severe periodontal disease.
In adults, the incidence of gingivitis increases with age, peaking at around age 34. However, there is a high incidence of gingivitis in the elderly because of a cumulative effect due of age and in those who wear ill-fitting dentures.
Plaque is a biofilm, usually a pale yellow and develops naturally on teeth. Plaque is formed by bacteria trying to adhere themselves to teeth. When first developed, plaque can be easily scratched out by using the finger nails. It starts to harden in 48 hours and in 10 days it becomes tartar and is very difficult to remove. That’s why regular brushing of teeth is so vital to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.
Plaque also builds up between teeth and gums and if they remain there, symptoms of gingivitis such as bad breath begin to appear.
As mentioned, gingivitis may affect a child as young as 3 years old. Since there are no obvious symptoms like pain, it is hard to detect early gingivitis. But several incidences can signal the start of gingivitis, for example, when one bites something hard like an apple and the gums start to bleed; or when one has chronic bad breath; or the gums swell after brushing. Do take note of these incidences and seek the help of a dentist if they worsen or recur often.