What is gum disease?
Every time we eat food, small food particles stick to our teeth, if left - or if you have poor oral hygiene, the particles attract bacteria and form a slimy layer on your teeth called plaque. The plaque if left gradually hardens to form tartar (calculus), which CANNOT be removed by brushing alone. This build- up causes the gums to become inflamed and bleed easily, and is referred to as gingivitis. This is the beginning of periodontal (gum) disease.
Periodontal (gum) disease is the gradual and progressive destruction of the bone and attachments that hold the teeth in the jaw. It is caused by bacteria in plaque both above and below the gum line. If left untreated it can lead to the teeth becoming loose and having to be removed, or even falling out.
Factors that contribute to the development and progression of gum disease are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Not visiting the dentist regularly
- Poor nutrition
- Systemic diseases
The progression of gum disease is slow, and in early stages not noticed by the patient. It can take a number of years before enough bone loss has occurred for teeth to become loose.
How can I prevent/treat gum disease?
Regular removal of the calculus/tartar that builds up on the teeth and causes gum disease will greatly reduce the risk of developing the destructive form of the disease.
Treatment becomes more difficult as it progresses but it can be treated very successfully in the early stages. Periodontal treatment is carried out by our dentist or dental hygienist but the day to day care of your gums is up to you. Regular visits to the dentist and hygiene team will help maintain your teeth.
How oral health affects the rest of you.
The mouth is the body’s most common entry point for infection. Almost every medical condition has some kind of oral manifestation. These mouth bacteria can lead to problems further downstream. There has been links between gum disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer's.