What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused when plaque, a sticky substance which can build up , collect and stick to teeth and gums and releases toxins which in turn cause infection and damage to your gums.
As it progresses, gum disease can cause affected gums to become red, inflamed and bleed and create pocketing of the gums. More advanced infection of the gums can lead to further damage to the surrounding bone and tissue and cause gums to pull away from the teeth. This in turn can cause teeth to become loose and if left untreated , it can result in tooth loss
Many people may be unaware that they have gum disease, hence the importance of regular dental check-ups with your dentist and oral hygiene and maintenance appointments with your dental hygienist.
How Do You Know You Have Gum Disease?
Signs of early gum disease (also known as gingivitis) include :
- Puffy or inflamed gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Gums that have ‘pulled away’ from teeth
- Painful teeth or teeth that are sensitive to heat and/or cold
- Unexplained or persistent bad breath
If left untreated, gum disease can progress to a more serious and advanced stage known as periodontitis. This can result in major changes such as an altered bite, gaps between teeth and even loss of teeth
Some useful tips to help prevent gum disease:
- Brush teeth effectively at least twice a day
- Clean along the gum line
- Floss regularly between your teeth
- Pay special attention when cleaning those hard to reach areas such as back teeth
- Use an antimicrobial toothpaste to help protect teeth that may show signs of gum disease
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush and use a gentle circular motion to clean your teeth
- Change your toothbrush before it gets too worn down ; as a rule of thumb, this should be every three months