Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Gingivitis can often be cured simply with good mouth hygiene. Brushing twice a day and using other mouth hygiene aids, such as floss and a medicated mouthwash, as advised by your dentist or hygienist.
What is Gum Disease?
The simplest form of gum disease, gingivitis, is often a reaction to a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a soft, sticky, substance made up of bacteria which live on the sugars from things we eat and drink. If plaque has been present for some time it hardens and is called tartar or calculus.
The earliest sign of gum disease is bleeding of the gums. They may also look red and swollen. Gingivitis can often be cured simply with good mouth hygiene, brushing twice a day and using other mouth hygiene, such as floss and a medicated mouthwash, as advised by your dentist or hygienist. Occasionally, even in healthy mouths, gums may become infected or sore and you may notice an unpleasant metallic taste. This is acute gingivitis and you should seek urgent treatment.
As the disease progresses the tissues holding teeth in place start to break down and pockets in the gum form around the teeth, which allow even more plaque to gather. This stage is called chronic periodontitis. It is usually painless and can become quite severe if not treated, resulting in teeth becoming loose, appearing to move position or to fall out.
Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Gums that have come away from the teeth.
- Pus between the teeth and gums.
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste.
- Permanent teeth that are loose or are changing position. Scaling and polishing by a dentist or hygienist can remove tartar and stains. This will help you to keep your mouth clean. In more severe cases of gum disease, deep cleaning below the gum line by a dentist or hygienist may be necessary. Occasionally surgery s required in which the gum is reshaped under local anesthetic, to allow affected areas to be treated. If gum disease has progressed too far, the tooth or teeth involved may have to be removed.