Early gum disease or periodontal disease is medically named gingivitis. Prolonged exposure to plaque, the colourless and sticky film which forms on the teeth after eating and sleeping, causes gum disease.
Gum disease starts in the gum from bacteria and decaying food debris. Chronic bad breath, tender or swollen gums and minor bleeding after brushing are all signs of gum disease. Gingivitis can still however go unnoticed. Infections cause the gum to separate from the teeth, which expose further areas that can become infected.
Gum disease is the main reason fro adults loosing their teeth. With proper treatment, these losses could have been avoided.
Untreated gingivitis can cause such serious problems as abscesses, bone loss or periodontitis.
Periodontitis can be treated in various ways. Root planing is one treatment involving cleaning and scraping below the gum line to smooth the roots, this procedure helps the gum reattach themselves to the tooth.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.
What do I do if I think I have gum disease?
The first thing to do is visit your dentist for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. The dentist can measure the ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.
What treatments are needed?
Your dentist will usually give your teeth a thorough clean. You’ll also be shown how to remove plaque successfully yourself, cleaning all surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and effectively. This may take a number of sessions with the dentist or hygienist.