Infection in the gums is a relatively vague term that can describe a few different dental conditions. The mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Without great oral hygiene and consistent dental care, developing an infection is likely.
There are two major causes of gum infections: one that originates inside a tooth, and the other that develops around a tooth or teeth. Regardless of where it starts, a dental infection eventually ends up in the gums when there is no intervention by a dentist.
Cavities are bacterial infections of the hard tissues of the teeth. Beginning in enamel, the bacteria work their way into the underlying dentin and then to the hollow chamber inside the tooth containing the nerves and blood vessels. They can then travel out through the tiny pore in the tip of each root into the surrounding tissues. The resulting abscess manifests in a small boil or “pimple” on the gums. This is often what people are referring to when they say that they have an infection in the gums.
Infections can also develop around the tooth through the buildup of dental plaque. Plaque contains disease-causing bacteria, which reproduce and become more aggressive as the amount of plaque grows. Over time (without dental treatment), the plaque collects between the teeth and gums, leading to pockets or small spaces that your toothbrush bristles cannot reach.
This leads to a snowball effect: the buildup of bacterial plaque causes deeper pockets, and your toothbrush cannot clean the plaque, allowing the plaque to creep even deeper, so on and so forth. Dental treatment is necessary to stop this vicious cycle.
In both of gum infection scenarios, the bacteria, their toxins, and the body’s response to them cause destruction of the bone and gums around the teeth. That destruction can only be stopped through dental treatment.
The first important step in treatment gum infections is seeing one of our skilled dentists who will make the correct diagnosis. Once your dentist determines the source of the infection, he or she can then discuss the various treatment options available.
These options will include dental procedures like tooth extractions, root canal therapy, deep cleaning, or periodontal therapy. One of our board-certified at our Premier Dental locations will also discuss important aspects of home care that you will implement to prevent future infections in the gums.
It seems that people will DIY anything these days. With a plethora of instructional blogs and videos online, there is a wealth of information available, and in the case of mouthwash, that information often includes recipes for homemade mouthwash. Because there is so much information out there, it can be difficult to differentiate on what might be beneficial and what you should avoid.
These are commonly asked questions in our current phase of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with continued mask recommendations and, in some places, mandates. Some have begun to feel concerned over how constant mask-wearing affects their health and specifically wonder about its effects on oral health.
Bacterial infections of the gums inside the mouth are, unfortunately, very common. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, and it affects almost half of the adults in the United States. These infections can range from mild to so severe that they are life-threatening!