What is gum disease?

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK. Gum disease affects the majority of people at some point in their lifetime. There are two types of gum disease; gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Meaning ‘inflammation of the gums’, gingivitis makes the gums very sore and swollen. A key sign that you are suffering from gum disease is bleeding gums when you are brushing your teeth. Luckily, if gingivitis is caught early enough, the effects can be treated and often completely reversed.

When gingivitis is left undetected and untreated, over time it can develop into periodontal disease. This disease starts to attack the tissues and bone that support the teeth, which leads to tooth loss. Periodontal disease cannot be reversed. However, the effects can be slowed down with a vigorous cleaning routine and regular dental and hygienist appointments.

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is often caused by poor oral hygiene. Plaque turns into tartar when not removed effectively. Tartar is a hard substance which can only be removed by professional cleaning. The bacteria in plaque and tartar can irritate your gums, making them inflamed and sore.

Other factors can contribute to the onset of gum disease, including hormonal changes, illnesses and some medications. If you have history of gum disease in the family, it can increase your chances of developing the disease. Bad habits such as smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also increase your chances of suffering with gum disease.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

The main symptoms of gum disease are swelling, soreness or infection of the gum tissues. The first symptom that you may experience is bleeding gums when you brush your teeth.

Gum disease doesn’t always cause pain, and can be left undetected for many years. This is why it is so important to visit your dentist for a check-up every six months. This will enable them to look out for any early warning signs and changes within your mouth, detecting gum disease and other problems early. As we discussed earlier, early detection means the effects are often reversible.

The symptoms of advanced gum disease, or periodontal disease, can include bad breath, unpleasant tastes in your mouth, gum abscesses and loose teeth.

How is gum disease treated?

When you are diagnosed with gum disease, the first step your dentist will take is to perform a thorough professional clean. This treatment is called a Scale and Polish. Some patients will require a further treatment called Root Planing. This is where the roots of the teeth are cleaning to remove any bacteria from under the gum line.  

Once the plaque and tartar has been removed, your dentist will advise you on the best oral hygiene routine that you can adopt. Sometimes, this can be enough to reverse the effects of gingivitis completely. However, most cases will need regular appointments with a dentist or hygienist to make sure the teeth are kept clean and free of bacteria causing plaque.

Unfortunately, if your gum disease is detected after it has developed into periodontal disease, it is extremely hard to reverse the effects completely. However, with a thorough oral hygiene routine, the effects of periodontal disease can be slowed down.

If you have noticed your gums bleeding or becoming swollen, it is important to book a dental check-up with a dentist. Call Gwersyllt Dental Care on 01978 757 409 to book an appointment with one of our highly trained dentists.