Gum Disease &
A preventable, treatable and common condition
involving the gums below the teeth
A condition affecting many adults
Most adults have gum disease to some degree, but some just have it worse than others. Gum disease (also know as Periodontitis) is a common dental condition whereby the gums become infected, swollen, or sore due to plaque growing below the gum line. The early form of gum disease is known as “Gingivitis”.
When plaque builds up on your teeth, this can eventually lead to gum disease. This is due to the bacteria in the plaque irritating and harming your gums, which can soon lead to redness, bleeding, and swelling. If your gums bleed when you brush them, you should consider making an appointment with your dentist and having your gums assessed and treated. Gum disease can lead to a range of dental problems, including bad breath, so it’s best to get your gums checked out.
Gum disease increases the risk of general health issues such as cardiovascular disease, so it is important not to ignore it.
What else do I need to know about gum disease?
Symptoms of gum disease include:
• Bad breath that won’t go away
• Red or swollen gums
• Tender or bleeding gums
• Painful chewing
• Loose teeth
• Sensitive teeth
• Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Gum disease treatment can help to prevent a wide range of future problems for your teeth. For example, if left untreated, gum disease can develop into a condition called “periodontitis” which is known to lead to receding gums, tooth loss, loose teeth, and painful pus-filled gum abscesses.
If you smoke or have a condition such as diabetes, then you are more likely to develop gum disease, so you should be particularly vigilant.
In some studies, researchers have observed that people with gum disease (when compared to people without gum disease) were more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling blood sugar. Other studies showed that women with gum disease were more likely than those with healthy gums to deliver preterm, low birth weight babies. To date, it has not been determined whether gum disease is the cause of these conditions.
How does treatment for gum disease work?
If you need to remove hardened plaque and tartar from your teeth, then you may receive a “professional cleaning” where a dental hygienist scrapes away plaque and tartar from your tooth with special tools. This, along with good home care, can be enough to rid some forms of gum disease.
In some cases, you may require “root planing” (debridement), a procedure which cleans the roots of your teeth under the gums. This treatment requires a local anaesthetic and can be sore for a couple of days afterwards.
Antibiotic tablets or capsules may be prescribed to control bacteria when treating gingivitis and after gum surgery