There are two main types gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and if left untreated it can progress to periodontal disease, which is an irreversible condition.
Gingivitis occurs when the gums become red and inflamed. The gums will often bleed when you brush your teeth or when you eat. You may also notice persistent bad breath.
- Periodontal Disease
If left untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects the tissues which support teeth and can lead to teeth become loose as bone is lost. If not treated the teeth may eventually fall out.
Everyone will suffer from gum disease at some point in their life. However, it is possible to effectively treat the condition and slow its progression.
All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the teeth and gums each and every day. It has been found that a certain strain of this bacteria is the main cause of gum disease. To prevent gum disease it is necessary to put in place an effective daily oral hygiene routine, to ensure that both the teeth and gums have this layer of plaque removed.
People who smoke are more likely to suffer with gum disease. Smoking changes the make-up of the bacteria present in plaque and increases those that are harmful to the teeth and gums. Also because smoking reduces the flow of blood to gums and the surrounding tissues in the mouth, your gums are more likely to be inflamed and infected gums will heal more slowly if at all. Smokers are also unlikely to get the warning sign of bleeding gums so should be especially vigilant for any of the other signs of gum disease.
There are a number of signs of gum disease, you may experience one, some or all of the signs. If you notice any of the signs you should seek advice from your dentist.
- Persistent bad breath
- Bleeding gums when you brush or eat
- Swollen or tender gums
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
Each time that you visit the dentist, they will examine your teeth for any signs of gum disease. They may also take x-rays to analyse the bone levels in your jaw.
The dentist and hygienist are able to scale your teeth to remove all the plaque and calculus present which provide an environment for bacteria to thrive. They will be able to advise you on an effective oral hygiene routine to ensure that you effectively remove plaque at home, through teeth brushing and interdental cleaning.
Although there are a number of treatments available to slow down the progress of gum disease, prevention is always better than cure
Oral hygiene Tips
- Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean in between your teeth using interdental brushes or flow once a day
- Attend your dentist for regular check-ups so that any issues can be noted and treated early