What is Gum Disease?
Teeth are held in place by healthy bone and tissue surrounding them. Gum disease affects the attachment between teeth and gums and can range from very mild, showing almost no signs, to a severe condition where gums can become swollen, start to bleed and, over time, could result in tooth and bone loss.
How Gum Disease Occurs
Gum disease begins with the formation of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky substance that contains bacteria (germs). Plaque forms on your teeth daily and it attaches to your teeth just below the edge of your gums.
If plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it eventually turns to tartar, also known as calculus. Tartar is a calcification of bacteria on your teeth and once tartar starts to build - the best way to remove it is by visiting your dentist.
The tartar can cause infection resulting in red or swollen gums which is the early stages of gum disease known as gingivitis. Click here to learn more about gingivitis.
Over time, the bacteria that causes the infection breaks down the gum tissue which affects how tissue attaches to the tooth and, if left untreated, can also lead to the breaking down of the bone. Gums may bleed during brushing, and swollen gums may change colour, but not necessarily be sore.
When bone starts to break down around your tooth, and your gums shrink, your teeth may become loose and in danger of falling out. At this point, gum disease turns into Periodontitis.
Good to know FACTS
The good news is that gum disease can almost always be prevented
by brushing and flossing twice a day and regular visits to a dentist.
Even if gum disease has started it can be reversed with early treatment.
At the early stages, gum disease may not be apparent. Gum disease in the late stages can cause severe bone loss.
Check Your Gums
Gums that are red and swollen around your teeth
A change of colour of your gums
Bleeding gums, blood on your toothbrush after brushing or flossing
Persistent bad breath (just won't go away) - check our bad breath article on our blog for more info
Teeth that are sensitive for no reason
Puffy, shiny and sore gums
A taste of metal in your mouth
If you notice any symptoms see your dentist. It should be noted that gum disease is the most common reason why adults lose their teeth.
Remember, gum disease is preventable!