Gum disease is a swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. The initial stage of gum disease is gingivitis and if left untreated it can progress to periodontal disease which is irreversible. Gingivitis is where the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen and the gums will often bleed when they are brushed.
Gum disease is caused by poor oral hygiene which allows plaque to build up on the surface of teeth and gums. As well as affecting your teeth and gums, poor oral health can cause or make worse heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and lung disease. Gum disease is also the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the UK
Signs of Gum disease
Gum disease may progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs, even in the late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, the condition is not entirely without warning signs. Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease. The symptoms of gum disease include:
- Inflammation of the gums, causing them to be red, swollen and to bleed easily, especially when brushing
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Regular mouth infections
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures
If you notice any of these signs you should speak to your dentist who will be able to investigate further.
Keeping your smile healthy
During a dental exam, your dentist typically checks for these things:
- Gum bleeding, swelling, firmness, and pocket depth (the space between the gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
- Teeth movement and sensitivity and proper teeth alignment
- Your jawbone, to help detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth
The goals of gum disease treatment are to promote reattachment of healthy gums to teeth; reduce swelling, the depth of pockets, and the risk of infection; and to stop disease progression.Your dental team will remove all the plaque from your teeth and advise you on the best dental aids to use to maintain your oral hygiene routine in between visits. The best way to prevent gum disease is to put in place a good oral hygiene routine.
- Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean your teeth interdentally daily using floss, tape, or interdental brushes
- Stop smoking
- Attend for regular dental appointments