Flossing to prevent gum disease

Gum Disease (Periodontitis)

What is gum disease and what are the causes?

Periodontal (gum) disease is the 6th most prevalent disease throughout the world. It is an inflammatory disease of the tissues that hold your teeth in place and is linked to human general well-being and longevity. In most cases it is caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to build upon the teeth and harden. It is often ‘silent’ and can be present for decades without diagnosis and treatment. In advanced stages, periodontal disease can lead to sore, bleeding gums; painful chewing problems; and even tooth loss.

Recent advances and research show that there is a possible correlation between periodontitis and systemic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis (gum inflammation) is an early stage of periodontal disease, and in the majority of cases is caused by bacterial plaque build-up, causing gum inflammation and bleeding on brushing. It is important to remember that gum inflammation is completely reversible, and not all gingivitis processes progress to periodontitis.

Although, there are no irreversible changes in the bone, when left untreated gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, often without any symptoms which may alert you.

Periodontitis (gum disease)

Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of the disease where chronic inflammation causes progressive bone destruction, which leads to increased teeth mobility and eventually, their loss. In many people, it is a gradual process which takes place over many years, and when detected and treated can be stopped. Unfortunately, some young adults have a very active form of the disease, which causes early tooth/teeth loss.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Although, in most cases, gum disease progresses painlessly and symptoms are subtle, the condition is not without warning signs. Most obvious symptoms include:

  • Bleeding gums spontaneously or on brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Bad breath or taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Pain on chewing and eating difficulty

It is important to remember that even if you do not notice any symptoms, the disease can progress. This is why you should attend your regular dental appointments, and if necessary, you can be referred to the Periodontist.

What can you do to prevent periodontal disease?

Periodontal inflammation is completely preventable. Gingivitis and periodontitis can be avoided by adopting thorough oral hygiene habits and coming to your regular professional examinations and support treatments (hygienist appointments).

The basic elements of a good oral hygiene regime are:

  1. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, with a toothbrush (of an appropriate size and in good condition) and toothpaste.
  2. Cleaning the spaces between the teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach, using either dental floss or an interdental brush, depending on the size of the space. This should be done once daily.
  3. Dental floss should be used where the teeth are close together, with little or no space between them, interdental brushes are suitable for larger gaps.

What are the risk factors for periodontitis?

Lifestyle changes and other health issues can increase your chances of developing periodontitis. Well-known risk factors as stress, systemic diseases such as diabetes and smoking can contribute to disease development and progression.

If you think you may have periodontitis, please book a consultation appointment with our dentist who has a special interest in gum disease treatment.

Normal tooth without gum disease
Diagram showing tooth with gum disease
Diagram showing the stages of gum disease

What is gum disease and what are the causes?

Periodontal (gum) disease is the 6th most prevalent disease throughout the world. It is an inflammatory disease of the tissues that hold your teeth in place and is linked to human general well-being and longevity. In most cases it is caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to build upon the teeth and harden. It is often ‘silent’ and can be present for decades without diagnosis and treatment. In advanced stages, periodontal disease can lead to sore, bleeding gums; painful chewing problems; and even tooth loss.

Recent advances and research show that there is a possible correlation between periodontitis and systemic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis (gum inflammation) is an early stage of periodontal disease, and in the majority of cases is caused by bacterial plaque build-up, causing gum inflammation and bleeding on brushing. It is important to remember that gum inflammation is completely reversible, and not all gingivitis processes progress to periodontitis.

Although, there are no irreversible changes in the bone, when left untreated gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, often without any symptoms which may alert you.

Periodontitis (gum disease)

Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of the disease where chronic inflammation causes progressive bone destruction, which leads to increased teeth mobility and eventually, their loss. In many people, it is a gradual process which takes place over many years, and when detected and treated can be stopped. Unfortunately, some young adults have a very active form of the disease, which causes early tooth/teeth loss.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Although, in most cases, gum disease progresses painlessly and symptoms are subtle, the condition is not without warning signs. Most obvious symptoms include:

  • Bleeding gums spontaneously or on brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Bad breath or taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Pain on chewing and eating difficulty

It is important to remember that even if you do not notice any symptoms, the disease can progress. This is why you should attend your regular dental appointments, and if necessary, you can be referred to the Periodontist.

What can you do to prevent periodontal disease?

Periodontal inflammation is completely preventable. Gingivitis and periodontitis can be avoided by adopting thorough oral hygiene habits and coming to your regular professional examinations and support treatments (hygienist appointments).

The basic elements of a good oral hygiene regime are:

  1. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, with a toothbrush (of an appropriate size and in good condition) and toothpaste.
  2. Cleaning the spaces between the teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach, using either dental floss or an interdental brush, depending on the size of the space. This should be done once daily.
  3. Dental floss should be used where the teeth are close together, with little or no space between them, interdental brushes are suitable for larger gaps.

What are the risk factors for periodontitis?

Lifestyle changes and other health issues can increase your chances of developing periodontitis. Well-known risk factors as stress, systemic diseases such as diabetes and smoking can contribute to disease development and progression.

If you think you may have periodontitis, please book a consultation appointment with our dentist who has a special interest in gum disease treatment.

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Email

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Address

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3 Parkhill Road,
Torquay,
TQ1 2AL,
Devon

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