Estimated to affect one in five Australian adults, gum disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss.
And for most people, they may not even know they have it, with the initial stages of the disease being painless and hard to detect.
Here’s an insight into gum disease and why this is a dental issue that is best recognised sooner rather than later…
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums caused by the same bacteria that leads to teeth cavities.
Left untreated, or not managed properly, it can ultimately cause the gums and bone structure beneath your teeth to be destroyed resulting in tooth shifting and loss.
Gum disease starts with bacteria that causes a film that coats your teeth known as plaque. If it’s not removed through regular brushing or dentist visits, plaque can build up and impact both your teeth and your gums.
Gum disease often starts painlessly with the first symptom being gums that may become red or even bleed during brushing.
The three stages of gum disease
There are basically three stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis – When plaque sits on the gumline it can produce toxins that irritate the gum tissue, causing the gums to become red, swollen and inflamed. Known as gingivitis, this stage of gum disease can usually be reversed or managed with good dental hygiene, including gently regular brushing and flossing.
Periodontitis – Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease. At this point the gum tissue is irreversibly affected with pockets forming in the gums beneath the teeth. These pockets can trap further food and plaque so need to be carefully monitored and managed to ensure there is no further damage to the supporting structure of the teeth.
Advanced periodontitis – By this stage the supporting tissue beneath the teeth is seriously damaged resulting in loose teeth, shifting teeth and ultimately tooth loss. This stage of gum disease requires aggressive management by a specialist.
Gum disease signs and symptoms
Initial signs of gum disease can be subtle, but if you detect any of the following you should consult your dentist:
- Swollen gums or gums that regularly bleed during brushing and flossing
- Teeth that appear long because the gumline is receding
- Noticeable pockets around the base of teeth or areas where the gum has pulled away
- Infection in the gums
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
Treating gum disease
If gum disease is caught early many of the symptoms can be reduced or reversed with extra attention to daily dental hygiene.
Meanwhile, regular visits to your dentist can help identify the early stages of gum diseases and remove the plaque build-up that leads to gum disease.
About Grand Dental
Servicing the Blue Mountains region, Grand Dental is conveniently located in Lawson.
Our practice is committed to first class dentistry in an unhurried environment. Our mission is to make a positive difference in your life through personalised dentistry of the highest quality.
With services ranging from general and children’s dentistry to orthodontics, implants and cosmetic dentistry, we provide a full suite of dental services that cater to the entire family.