Ever noticed some bleeding when brushing your teeth? You are not the only one. The most common cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease. Furthermore, recent scientific research links chronic gum disease to other health problems. Although gum disease starts off as a mild condition (gingivitis) if unchecked, it can evolve into deeper, more complex periodontal disease (periodontitis), with bone loss, infections, tooth loosening and eventually tooth loss. That’s why its treatment and prevention is always at the forefront of your dental care.
Regular visits to your dentist and hygienist will make sure that any early signs of gum disease are picked up and addressed before the condition can progress any further.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by the gradual build-up of plaque, a sticky film containing bacteria which gradually becomes calcified (hardened) if not removed daily. Careful daily cleaning (brushing, flossing, interdental brushing…) removes most of the plaque build-up but no amount of brushing will remove hardened deposits on your teeth. As plaque and calculus (tartar) build up, so do the bacteria, with more harmful ones developing. This usually leads to deeper and more complex problems (periodontitis) needing more complex treatments.
The early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, can be treated through regular hygiene appointments as well as thorough brushing and flossing at home. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which can cause gums to “detach” from the teeth, creating pockets that are susceptible to infection. Over time, these pockets will deepen, the gums will continue to recede, the bone supporting your teeth is gradually destroyed; eventually teeth become loose and may have to be extracted..
The bacteria abundantly found in plaque are responsible for the inflammatory reactions of the gum, leading to “gum disease”. Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bleeding after brushing and/or when eating
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- Bright red or purplish gums
Treatments for gum disease
Hygiene Your dentist or hygienist will thoroughly remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth. While good brushing techniques at home can combat most of the plaque that forms on your teeth, it can’t remove stubborn tartar or plaque in hard-to-reach areas. A dentist or hygienist can reach these areas and keep an eye on your treatment progress. You can learn more here.
Periodontal treatment If gum disease has progressed into periodontitis, it can be treated but it can’t be cured. We offer a periodontal treatment plan that can help keep you on top of the condition, halting it in its tracks. You can learn more here.