What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as Periodontal Disease, is the most common cause of tooth loss. It affects 60% of Australians and is caused by a build-up of plaque on our teeth.
Common signs include:
- Swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Gaps appearing between your teeth
- Teeth shifting or moving
How is gum disease caused:
A common cause is due to poor care of teeth by poor brushing and flossing. With low levels of tooth care, plaque buildup forms on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria which leads to disease of the gum.
There are 2 main stages:
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Early stages are known as gingivitis and are potentially reversible thorough cleaning. Gingivitis is caused by dental plaque build up on your teeth, typically close to where the tooth joins the gum. Symptoms of Gingivitis include bleeding of the gums, redness around the gum near the tooth and swelling.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
Advanced stages are known as Periodontitis. This is typically caused if the early stages of gum disease are not treated and become an infection. The infection causes swelling of the gum and bone that support the teeth. This generally starts eating away at the tooth bone. As the tooth bone decreases your tooth can become loose, fall out or require a tooth extraction.
The first step is to treat the gum area that is infected. This is done by a proper clean of your teeth at the dentist and then have regular check-ups to monitor the gums for further disease. The sooner we can start cleaning and monitoring your teeth, we can aim at avoiding any further bone loss.
Cleaning your teeth is important to remove any plaque or tartar. Depending on what stage of the disease you have, it will require different dental plans and monitoring of the disease. It’s important to get regular cleans to avoid further build-up of plaque.
Prevent it by looking after your teeth daily. Ensure you brush your teeth twice daily and floss daily. Book a dental appointment every 6 months for a general check-up and clean to remove plaque. Removing plaque is very important to minimise the chances of infected gums. Early treatment helps to keep healthy teeth and save you from potentially losing a tooth (or more). Other ways to prevent disease of the gum is to eat a balanced diet, no sugary drinks and quit smoking.