Gum Disease & Recession (Periodontitis)
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a common dental condition. There are studies linking untreated gum disease with other systemic diseases.
It is caused by plaque: a sticky build-up of saliva, food particles and the bacteria in your mouth that clings to your teeth and gums. If plaque is not removed, it can become calcified and turn into tartar.
Plaque and tartar buildup can irritate your gums, leading to gum inflammation and infection.
Gum disease has been linked to significant health issues including heart disease, pneumonia and diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
There are three main stages of gum disease.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
- Occasional bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth.
- The crest of your gums may be slightly inflamed.
- Your gums quickly repair themselves when you improve your brushing and flossing.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
- Bleeding gums every time your brush or floss your teeth.
- Your gums bleed when you eat something firm like an apple.
- Red, swollen or puffy gums.
- Gums recede, exposing root surfaces that might be sensitive to cold temperatures.
- Pockets begin to form around your teeth below the gumline. These pockets are more difficult to keep clean. Now you need help to return your teeth to a healthy condition that you can maintain.
Stage 3: Acute Periodontitis
- If pockets and recession are excessive, your teeth may become loose. This is due to loss of bone around your teeth.
- Increased size of spaces between your teeth (e.g. black triangles).
- Pockets between your teeth and your gums can become infected.
- Red, swollen or puffy gums.
- Persistent bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth.
- Abscesses between your teeth and gums.
What are Gum Disease Treatment Options?
Gum disease is a progressive disease, and the risks increase as we age. The sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcome.
Stage 1 gum disease treatment is through improved oral hygiene through brushing and flossing and regular dental check-ups.
Stage 2 & 3 gum disease treatment requires a dentist to undertake deep scaling of your teeth and gums above and below the gum line, and in any pockets below your gum line.
Root planing may be required to remove deposits on teeth roots and in deeper pockets below the gum line.
For more severe cases, you may need a course of antibiotics or periodontal surgery and tooth extraction to remove all the bacteria.
Stage 2 or 3 gum disease requires ongoing regular visits to your dentist to help avoid infections that arise and stop the disease from progressing further.
Tips to Maintaining Healthy Gums
Brush your teeth and gums twice a day with toothpaste.
Floss or use dental tape or interdental brushes between your teeth once a day.
Have regular dental check-ups and cleans.
Concerned about your gums?
Think you may have gum disease or periodontitis? Book an appointment with Meg Bowtell Dentist in Alderley.