Gum disease is a serious problem which affects a large part of the population to some extent. Gum disease can lead to serious problems for the mouth and teeth but also a person’s health generally. In our latest article, we’ll take a closer look at gum disease and what can be done to prevent it.
Most people with serious gum problems know about it – the symptoms are hard to avoid. For others the issue can keep up gradually and often be a silent problem which is much worse because the issue simply goes unnoticed by lots of people.
Gum disease is uncommon in children, but most people experience at least one episode of it during a lifetime. The classic tell-tale signs of gum disease are gums bleeding when teeth are being brushed. Gums will become red, swollen and inflamed and feel sore. You may also notice you have bad breath.
Stages of gum disease are generally split into two. Firstly, the minor version of the problem is called gingivitis when normally the symptoms are present, but no lasting damage occurs. If gingivitis isn’t treated, this develops into periodontitis which can cause lasting damage and problems to the teeth and oral health.
If periodontitis is left, the jaw can become damaged and as gums recede, teeth and the surrounding structure weaken eventually leading to teeth falling out.
The cause of gum disease is normally always the same thing – an excess of plaque which builds up on the teeth and isn’t removed. As plaque coats the teeth and enamel it eventually builds to the point where it irritates the gum, thus causing the symptoms known as gingivitis.
If you visit the dentist every 6 months as recommended, then gum problems shouldn’t go undetected for too long. If you are experiencing irritated, red or swollen gums or they are bleeding, then you should book to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will examine your gums and will use special instruments to help detect how your gums are responding. X-rays may also be taken to give further guidance.
Many cases of gum disease can be treated at home without excessive intervention, which is why early detection is very important. Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine which effectively removes plaque is one of the best options to provide yourself with ongoing protection against this problem. Mild cases of gingivitis can be treated with specific medicated mouthwashes which help kill the bacteria associated with the problem. If your gum problems are more serious (including periodontitis) then specialist treatment will be needed which may include surgical procedures. A specialist in gums and gum problems (called a periodontist) may be enlisted to provide expert care with this.
If you’ve never had gum disease or problems, congratulations, you must be doing something right! If you have, then you advised to make sure you attend regular check-ups to ensure problems do not get out of hand. Some people are at increased risk of getting gum disease and these need greater monitoring. Examples include people who smoke or suffer from diabetes.
If there is one important piece of information to take from this article, it is that catching gum disease early is key. If you are in doubt, seek assistance and you could be doing yourself a massive long term favour.
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