What is gum disease?
Gum disease describes swelling, bleeding, soreness or infections of the tissue supporting the teeth. Gum disease is the largest cause of tooth loss in adults and has been linked to other medical problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and lung disease.
There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums and is characterised by bleeding gums upon brushing. Long standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, as it starts to affect the bone which anchors the teeth, resulting in bone loss. It may be noticeable by wobbly teeth or teeth that have moved.
Causes of gum disease
Gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a soft sticky substance that builds up on your teeth and gums. It is mostly made up of bacteria which feed off sugars in food and drink producing acids as waste products. This can lead to minerals in the teeth dissolving, causing decay. Plaque can also make your gums swollen and infected. If plaque is allowed to form it will harden (calculus or tartar), and this provides a rough surface for more plaque to stick to. The bacteria in the calculus produce toxins, which in turn cause a reaction by your immune system. The result of this is that the bone around your teeth is “eaten away”, causing your teeth to lose support and to become loose.
Periodontal disease is episodic. Being diagnosed with periodontal disease is similar to being diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes (and various other disease conditions): the physician will always have to monitor the disease state – even when everything seems to be normal – in order to be able to act promptly in case a relapse occurs.
Certain medical conditions make you more prone to/ aggravate gum disease, and vice versa. It is therefore vital that we work together to ensure that your gums are as healthy as possible.
Smoking can also make gum disease worse. People who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque. Smoking also impairs the healing capacity of the gums, thereby deteriorating their condition further.
Gum disease is a preventable condition, but how?
The Dental Hygienist will professionally remove all plaque and calculus build-up from your teeth, to help prevent the gum disease process. You cannot remove the calculus just by brushing, but the Dental Hygienist will remove it using special instruments. More importantly they will show you how to remove all soft plaque successfully yourself, to help prevent the build-up of calculus. The only reliable way to try and keep gum disease at bay is through proper dental home care and regular preventative scale and polish visits.
Keep your smile healthy by seeing our Dental Hygienist!
Contact us today to make sure that you do not suffer from gum disease!