Do your gums bleed when you brush them? Do you have a metallic taste in your mouth? Have you noticed increased gum recession or wobbly teeth? If so, then you could have gum disease. If so, it’s important to catch gum disease early in order to have the best chance of treating and saving your teeth.
Although gum disease can’t be reversed it can be identified, treated and controlled.
Do I have gum disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease (or gingivitis in its early stages) is a very common condition thought to affect up to three quarters of adults in the UK. In fact, nearly all of us will experience it at least once in our lifetime.
Gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss amongst adults.
If you have noticed any of these signs then you could very well have gum disease and it is important to visit your dentist or hygienist at the earliest opportunity.
- Bleeding in your gums when you brush or eat hard foods
- Bad breath or a bad/metallic taste in your mouth
- Noticeable gum recession or an increase in the length of any teeth
- Increased sensitivity in the teeth or gums
- The appearance of gaps between teeth
- Teeth feeling loose or wobbly
What causes gum disease?
No matter how well we brush our teeth, plaque builds on them daily and this is why regular hygiene appointments are vital. When left, this plaque layer will eventually harden and turn to tartar which starts to cause irritation in the gums.
Your body’s immune system naturally reacts to this invasion by attacking the plaque around your teeth. However, in around 20% of people the immune system can overreact and start breaking down bone and tissue surrounding the tooth. It is almost impossible to tell who is at risk of this.
If nothing is done the bone can erode completely- causing the tooth to become loose and eventually fall out. Often the onset of gum disease is pain-less and this is why it’s so important for adults and children to attend regular check-ups with the dentist and hygienist.
Why are healthy gums important?
In order for your teeth to be healthy they need healthy gums!
Healthy gums are: pink and firm with no soreness, bleeding or sensitivity.
Gum disease does not always cause pain so it can be hard to spot. The most common symptoms are bleeding gums and bad breath. If you have either of these signs you could be in the early stages of gum disease- (gingivitis).
It is important to treat any symptoms early to avoid them advancing and developing into potentially more serious issues. If you are worried about anything at all then contact your Dentist or Dental Hygienist.
How is gum disease treated?
If you have gum disease then your dentist or hygienist will perform a deep clean under a local anaesthetic to remove any bacteria under the gums.
You will then be given instructions and advice on how to keep your gums healthy in the future.
If your gum disease is advanced you may need to be referred to a periodontist who can treat your gum disease in the long-term.
How to protect your teeth from gum disease
Prevention of gum disease is the best cure! Decrease your risk by taking note of the following points:
- Visit the dentist and hygienist regularly! You should aim to attend dental appointments at least once a year. Your dentist can pick up on any problems or changes in your mouth. Hygiene appointments will help keep your teeth and gums clean and they can advise you on any problem areas.
- Clean your teeth regularly: Brush your teeth and gums twice a day. Use mouthwash, floss and interdental devices if necessary.
- Give up smoking: Smokers are at a higher risk of developing gum disease- so aim to quit now!
- Stress and medication: Street and medication such as chemotherapy can have a significant effect on your immune system- leaving you more at risk of developing gum disease.
- Diabetics: This group of people are more likely to have gum disease and gum disease also makes it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.