Gum disease is a general term describing the inflammation and destruction of the tissue supporting the teeth, which includes Gingivitis and Periodontal disease.
The early stage of gum disease is Gingivitis. The major cause of this is plaque, a sticky layer of bacteria that builds up on the teeth, which can be removed by brushing and cleaning in-between the teeth. If the plaque is not removed it will harden and form calculus (tartar) which is more difficult to remove and can only be done so by your Dentist or Hygienist.
When the calculus is not removed the bacteria will continue to attack the tissues that support the tooth roots, gradually progressing. This can result in the destruction of the tooth attachment and the bone around the teeth-‘Periodontitis’. This condition causes the affected tooth or teeth to become loose. Once the bone has resorbed it cannot grow back but the condition can be stabilised.
How will I know that I have gum disease?
Your gums will be red in colour rather than the usual healthy pink. They will appear to be slightly puffy or swollen and you may experience bad breath. Inflamed gums also bleed, usually when brushing or biting into something hard such as an apple.
In severe cases of gum disease, the gums may bleed of their own accord.
Who is more susceptible to gum disease?
Smoking makes the saliva stickier and affects the small blood vessels in your gums. Smokers also lose more bone so it really does benefit your mouth if you can give up.
Diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease, although some people are prone to gum disease for no apparent reason (it could be genetic). Certain medication, such as steroid therapy, may also make you more vulnerable to gum disease.
What can be done to treat the disease?
Your Dentist will carry out a thorough examination and will treat the condition; usually starting with deep scaling that removes any calculus deposits.
The Dentist will check your brushing technique and may ask you to bring your toothbrush to the appointment with you. They will advise a cleaning routine for you that will include the use of interdental brushes or floss.
Our practice owner Dr Kunal is happy to chat to any patient and answer questions you may have on gum disease. Get in touch with us – we’d love to hear from you.