Gum Disease

Your gums are incredibly important to your smile. Keeping your teeth clean from plaque and tartar will help to prevent gum disease.

But what exactly is gum disease and why is it such a common issue?

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a common condition. People are often unaware they have it, as they may have few, if any, symptoms. If detected during its early stages, gum disease can be reversed but if allowed to progress it can only be managed.

Gum disease is essentially your body’s reaction to bacteria in plaque and tartar around the gum line. The immune system reacts and causes the gum tissue to become inflamed, which leads to gums bleeding when you brush. In some people, their immune system can overreact and start to break down the gum tissue and even the bone that supports the tooth.

We adopt a team approach to treating gum disease and we work together with our Dental Therapists who are especially skilled in providing the therapies and treatments which are most effective.

How can we treat gum disease?

The early stages of gum disease are reversible. Known as gingivitis, this stage can be treated during hygiene appointments through removing plaque and tartar from the tooth surface.

If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. This stage can be managed but is a life-time condition. We can prevent the more destructive stage of the condition through removing tartar from under the gum line, cleaning around the roots. As this requires going under the gum line, we use local anaesthetic to reduce discomfort. Even at this stage, there may only be mild symptoms but if not managed, it can cause tooth loss.

Symptoms of gum disease

  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Bleeding after brushing
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bright red or purplish gums
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together

Risk factors for gum disease

There are a number of factors that may increase your likelihood of developing severe gum disease including:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • A family history
  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Poor oral hygiene

Preventing gum disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is to make sure plaque is removed effectively. This means you need a thorough home care routine with plenty of brushing and flossing, and you should see the hygienist so your teeth can be properly ‘cleaned and polished’. You also need to see your dentist regularly so any changes can be detected before they worsen. Other ways you can reduce your risk of developing the disease include giving up smoking, reducing stress and eating a well-balanced diet.