Gum disease is a common condition in the UK. Most people suffer from gum disease at least once in their lifetime. The symptoms aren’t pleasant – they include bleeding gums and bad breath. In this article, we’ll cover our patients’ most common questions about gum disease, including what to do if you think you have it.
What’s the cause of gum disease?
The cause of gum disease is simply plaque on your teeth. Plaque often contains bacteria that can irritate your gums. This irritation makes your gums sore, red, and swollen.
What are the signs of gum disease?
Early signs of gum disease are gingivitis (bad breath) and red and swollen gums. Your gums might also bleed when you brush them.
If gum disease is left untreated, you might develop a more serious condition called periodontitis. This is a serious type of gum disease that damages the tissue and bone holding your teeth in place. Eventually, your teeth may become loose and fall out.
What do I do if I think I have gum disease?
Don’t panic. If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, then make an appointment with a dentist. The dentist will be able to tell you for certain whether or not you have gum disease.
Typically, the dentist will place a periodontal probe (which is basically a thin metal stick) against your teeth to assess the depth of your gums. The dentist may also want to do x-rays to check the health of your teeth and jaw.
What can I do to treat gum disease?
The treatment for gum disease depends on its severity. With mild gum disease, the solution to simply remove the plaque on your teeth. Your dentist can do for this for you or you can remove mild plaque yourself at home by brushing and flossing.
Severe gum disease is harder to treat. Treatment usually involves further dental treatment and may even require surgery. This will be performed by Dr Hussein Asaria, our principal dentist.
This is why frequent check-ups are a good idea. Dentists can spot gum disease in its early stages before it develops into a more severe form.
What can I do to prevent gum disease?
Gum disease is easy to prevent: you just have to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day.
You should also visit a dentist regularly for check-ups. A dentist can spot the signs of early gum disease and treat it before it develops into a more serious problem. If you’ve had gum disease in the past, you will probably need to visit your dentist fairly frequently, around every three to six months. If you have a history of good oral health, then you might only need to see your dentist once every one or two years. Your dentist will be the best judge of how often you need check-ups