Have you ever noticed your gums bleed while flossing or brushing your teeth? Believe it or not, it’s very common, and actually a sign that you should be cleaning your teeth more thoroughly. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition of the gums and supporting structures around the teeth. It is one of the most common and widespread human diseases.
What is gum disease?
The disease occurs in response to bacteria in the plaque accumulated around the teeth and gums. The bacteria cause an inflammatory response which, when left untreated, can spread below the gums along the root of the tooth, destroying the supporting bone and ligaments. This can lead to the tooth becoming loose, and in severe cases the tooth may die.
Our mouths are home to over 700 different species of bacteria, most of which are harmless. However, when tooth cleaning is not performed thoroughly, the plaque deposits build up next to the gums, forming suitable conditions for more dangerous bacteria to flourish which can overcome the mouth’s natural defences.
If the soft plaque is not removed with tooth brushing and flossing, it hardens to become calculus (also known as tartar). This leads to further growth of the bacteria, and a deeper spread of the inflammation and breakdown of the teeth’s supporting bone and ligaments.
How do you spot it?
You may not realise you have gum disease, as it is often painless until the most advanced stages. In many cases, bleeding and swelling around the gums are completely absent, making it very difficult to detect without examination by your dentist or periodontist.
The most common symptoms associated with gum disease are:
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Red, puffy, inflamed or painful gums
- Mobility or changes in the position of teeth
- Shrinking or receding gums
- Abscesses around gums
How can you prevent it?
Gum disease caught in the early stages can usually be treated with a simple dental clean and careful brushing and flossing. Regular visits to your dentist are recommended to help catch signs of gum disease early and prevent further damage.
My Dental Team are your local dentists with Clinics conveniently located in Bella Vista, Shellharbour and Wollongong. Offering a wide range range of general dental and specialist Orthodontist services.