Gum disease is a common dental condition, also known as periodontitis. This dental condition causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth. Gum disease results from bacteria and plaque build-up, and it is a progressive condition that may result in tooth loss.
It often starts as a bacterial infection known as gingivitis. Gingivitis causes gum inflammation, and if left untreated, the toxins from plaque destroy the underlying bone and teeth, resulting in damage that alters the appearance and affects speaking and chewing function.
Different types of gum disease affect people, but periodontitis and necrotising periodontitis are common, resulting from another disease in the body. These gum diseases are different and require immediate treatment to save the tooth and preserve oral health. However, preventing gum disease is easy with proper oral hygiene and regular teeth cleaning.
Signs and symptoms
Most people with gum disease remain unaware of the condition because it usually occurs and progresses with no pains and other discomforting symptoms. This makes routine dental check-ups important.
The common signs of gum disease include:
- Swelling, pain and redness
If your gums are painful and inflamed for no particular reason, it may be a sign of an infection. This infection quickly progresses, and getting treatment early to stop it is important. When left untreated, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and affect other body parts.
Bleeding gums while flossing, brushing and eating is a sign of gum disease. Accumulated plaques on the teeth produce toxins that can cause bacterial infection, making the gums prone to bleeding and sensitivity. Hormonal changes in menopause and pregnancy increase the risk of bleeding and gingivitis.
- Bad breath
Bad breath may be due to digested foods. The foul smell can originate from the lungs, back of the tongue or stomach. Bad breath may also result from using oral tobacco or smoking. In most cases, food particles stuck between the teeth which get under the gum line cause bad breath. People with deep gum pockets are prone to accumulating food debris which may cause bad breath. Several treatments for bad breath are available, and it is easy to manage.
- Gum recession
Periodontal disease usually causes receding gums. This makes teeth appear longer, giving the person a toothy smile. Receding gums from the teeth occurs when bacteria damage the bone structure and tissue.
- Pus pockets
Pus between the teeth is a clear sign of gum disease. The body produces pus while fighting off an infection. When pus is present, you may need to take antibiotics before carrying out any dental work.
- Loose teeth
Advanced stages of gum disease make the teeth loose and cause them to shift into different positions. Loose teeth result from the destruction of bone tissue when a bacterial infection is left untreated. When the gum disease causes loose teeth, extensive dental work is needed to save the teeth that haven’t fallen off.
Ensure you visit a periodontist or dentist if you experience these symptoms because the different stages of gum disease can affect your health.
Gum disease treatment
Gum disease treatment aims to stop the progress of the disease before it results in more damage to the underlying bone and tissue. To treat gum disease, the dentist will first examine your mouth thoroughly to determine the progress of the condition. Following diagnosis, the dentist will create a treatment plan, which may involve taking antibiotics and surgery.
If the progress of the disease is moderate, the dentist will clean pockets around the teeth using a method called root planing and scaling and then fill the pockets with an antibiotic solution to kill the remaining bacteria and aid in better healing.
Severe gum disease can be treated with the following.
- Flap surgery
This procedure involves the dentist manipulating the gum tissue to reduce the size of pockets surrounding the teeth. Keeping smaller pockets clean and reducing the accumulation of harmful bacteria is easier.
- Laser treatment
This procedure is similar to flap surgery. It makes pockets easy to maintain and smaller.
- Bone and tissue graft
When a large amount of the bone or gum tissues is lost, the dentist may carry out grafting. This involves applying a membrane on the affected area to aid regeneration of the bone and tissue.
Gum disease prevention
You can easily prevent gum disease by flossing, using an antiseptic mouth wash, and brushing daily. Ensure you floss after every meal to remove food particles between the teeth and gums. Brushing for at least two minutes each time also helps remove plaques, and the mouth rinse can kill the harmful bacteria, promoting healthy gums.
Besides daily oral care, you need to visit your dentist at least every six months for a professional dental cleaning and dental exam to keep the gums and teeth healthy.
For your professional teeth cleaning in London, visit Dentalhygienist.london or call 020 3137 5055 to schedule an appointment.