Gum disease is not an uncommon problem for people to have. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, studies carried out in both the USA and the UK found that some form of gum disease, whether it be the early stages or more severe cases, affected between 50-90% of the adult population, with almost half of adults in Britain suffering with gum disease that is irreversible. With this in mind, it is important that the early stages of gum disease are identified so that treatment can be carried out to rectify the issue. But in order to do that, you must first understand what gum disease actually is, how it can be prevented in the first place and how it can be treated effectively.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease causes the gums to become red, sore and swollen. Often, it can cause bleeding gums which is one of the first signs that gum disease has taken hold. Gum disease often comes in two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis refers to the early onset of gum disease.
This is when it is most treatable and reversible. If, however, gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into the more severe case of periodontitis. This is when more of the gum tissue becomes affected, eventually causing teeth to feel loose and, eventually, it could cause some teeth to fall out, if left untreated. This happens because the jawbone can become damaged by gum disease, causing gaps to open up between the gums and the teeth.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by significant plaque build-up on the teeth. Plaque is often described as a sticky substance, but the issue is that it contains bacteria. Some of those bacteria will be harmless, but others can cause the deterioration of your gum health. Plaque build-up occurs due to lack of dental hygiene. If the plaque builds up too far, it can irritate the gums, leading to redness, swelling and tenderness – the first signs of gum disease.
How to prevent gum disease
Gum disease can be prevented by regular tooth brushing. At least twice a day for two minutes each time is recommended. Using mouthwash and making sure you floss your teeth as well will help to keep plaque and bacteria at bay, together with food debris. It is also recommended that you visit a dental hygienist twice yearly and attend regular dental check ups, again, twice a year.
Signs of gum disease
Detecting signs of gum disease is quite straightforward. The things you might experience if you have gum disease, whether it be early stages or more severe cases, includes the following:
- Bleeding gums, especially after brushing your teeth, eating hard foods or flossing
- Swollen gums
- Red gums
- Sore gums
- Bad breath
- Shrinking or receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
How is gum disease treated?
Mild cases of gum disease can be treated fairly easily with an overhaul of your dental hygiene routine. Once gum disease has been identified, you will be advised to brush your teeth and floss more regularly. You will also be told that it would be worthwhile paying your hygienist a visit and making sure you stick to regular dental appointments throughout the year. This should rectify mild cases of gum disease. More severe cases of gum disease, however, may require another type of treatment.
It might be that, for the most severe cases of gum disease, surgery will need to be carried out. This is usually done by a periodontist (a specialist in gum issues). They will first take some x-rays of your teeth and jaw to see where the build-up of bacteria is. It might be that they will have to scrape the plaque out from under the gumline. It is important to note that, depending on the severity of your case, more than one appointment might be needed and, also, the type of treatment given could differ. Make sure you discuss your options with your dentist.
When should I see my dentist?
It is important that you visit your dentist as soon as you notice the signs of gum disease, including bleeding, swollen, red or sore gums. This way, your dentist can conduct a thorough examination and provide you with the best possible advice and treatment so that it does not end with the loss of any teeth. You should also see your dentist if you are experiencing one or more of the aforementioned things along with bad breath. Urgent attention is needed if your teeth are loose or falling out, if you have ulcers or patches of red around the mouth or if there is a lump in the mouth or on the lip.
Quorn Dental Practice and Implant Clinic is able to provide patients throughout Loughborough and the surrounding areas with first class periodontal (gum disease) treatment. Our committed, professional team strives to deliver exceptional care throughout your treatment, as well as provide excellent aftercare. The dedicated team at Quorn Dental Practice and Implant Clinic work tirelessly to make sure you are comfortable throughout your treatment. Providing specialist care and unrivalled customer services, you will always be able to rely on them for all of your dental requirements. If you would like further information about the gum disease treatments they are proud to offer, then get in touch with them today – they are always happy to hear from you.