Have you noticed bleeding when you brush your teeth? Are your gums sore, swollen or tender? If so, you may have gum disease. Gum disease is preventable, but it remains the most common cause of tooth loss in the UK.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a common oral disease, which is characterised by inflamed, sore, red and tender gums. In most cases, the most noticeable sign of gum disease is bleeding when you clean your teeth.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria, which produce plaque acids, which irritate the gums and cause them to become inflamed. Bacteria build up if you neglect your oral hygiene or if you eat a lot of sugary foods; the best weapon against gum disease is good oral hygiene.
Types of gum disease
There are two main types of gum disease: periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the mild form of gum disease, while periodontal disease is an advanced form. If gingivitis is left untreated, it usually develops into periodontal disease, which is also known as periodontitis.
Gingivitis is relatively simple to treat, but it can become more serious quickly and periodontal disease is much more difficult to manage, as it causes permanent damage to the mouth. Periodontal disease affects the bone structure, which supports the teeth and gums and eventually the teeth come loose from their sockets and fall out.
Preventing gum disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is to maintain good oral hygiene at home; this should involve brushing twice a day and being diligent with your flossing routine. Your diet is also really important for your oral health and we advise sticking to a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding snacking and grazing on sugary and acidic foods. We also cannot stress the importance of regular check-ups enough; ideally, we like to see our patients for a quick dental check every 6 months.
If you have symptoms of gum disease, it’s best to act fast, so that we can address the problem as quickly as possible and reduce the risk of the problem getting worse.