Gum disease is quite common, but it can be serious if it is left untreated. In this article we explore what exactly is gum disease, the signs and symptoms to look out for, and treatments for gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Early gum disease or gingivitis occurs when there is a build up of plaque between the teeth and the gums. This often results in irritation of the gums causing inflammation and sometimes infections.
Advanced gum disease or periodontitis is when the gingivitis is left untreated allowing the condition to worsen. If left untreated, the bacteria trapped in the ‘gum pockets’ cause inflammation and deteriorate the gums and the bone around the teeth.
So in answer to the question “What is Gum Disease?” early gum disease is a build up of plaque and advanced gum disease causes deterioration of the gums and bone.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you have gum disease, you will probably have some if not all of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding when brushing
- Redness and swelling of the gums
- Receding gums
- Bad Breath
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth or tooth loss
Should I Be Worried?
Gum disease affects many adults and sometimes children at some stage of their life. It is also a risk factor for heart and lung disease so it is very important to tackle the problem early. Good news is, Gum disease is fairly preventable. It is usually caused by lack of good oral hygiene and risks are significantly higher if you are a smoker.
Periodontitis is not always painful until the end stages so many people do not realise they have it until the teeth are sore or loose. By this stage, saving the teeth can become difficult.
Gum Disease Treatment
It can be tempting to avoid brushing and flossing if your gums start to bleed but gentle cleaning of teeth and gums will help reduce the bleeding over time. If it doesn’t resolve, chances are you have plaque trapped between the teeth and gums that need to be professionally cleaned, so book in appointment with your dentist to access your gums.
Gum disease treatment depends on the severity of the condition. For mild cases of gum disease, your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing, which involves cleaning the teeth and gums to remove plaque and tartar buildup. For more severe cases, your dentist may refer you to a Periodontist who specialises in gum disease treatment and may deem surgery is necessary to remove damaged tissue and regenerate healthy tissue. In some cases, antibiotics may also be prescribed to help fight off infection. With proper treatment, gum disease can be managed, and the progression of the disease can be stopped, preventing tooth loss and other serious health problems.
7 tips to maintain a good healthy mouth!
- Limit sugary foods and drinks
- Brush your teeth and gums twice a day
- Eat a balanced healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Avoid saturated fats
- Drink plenty of water
- Visit your dentist regularly. Every 6 months is ideal
- Avoid smoking
One last thing – when it comes to your oral health, always see your dentist early on if you have any concerns. Prevention is always better than cure. Early intervention can not only help keep your teeth for life, but also prevent more expensive treatment later on.
If you’d like to know more, visit our website or contact your oral health expert at your preferred Coolum Beach Dentist, Dentistry on Coolum 07 5446 1616