What are the symptoms?
If you have gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and you may have bad breath. This early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis.
If gingivitis isn’t treated, a condition called periodontitis can develop. This affects more tissues that support teeth and hold them in place.
If periodontitis isn’t treated, the bone in your jaw may be damaged and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth. Your teeth can become loose and may eventually fall out.
How can I treat gum disease?
Thankfully, the early stages of gum disease are very treatable with good oral hygiene, and can in many cases be entirely reversed. Brushing thoroughly twice a day with regular flossing – at least once a day – is the best way to prevent gum disease. Your dentist might also be able to recommend an anti-bacterial mouthwash if you’re particularly concerned.
The later stages of gum disease – periodontitis – can be harder to treat, and requires special attention. Here, the infection is deeper-rooted, and oral surgery may be required to fully remove the infection and replace damaged bone or tissue.
How can I prevent gum disease?
The best way to avoid gum disease entirely is to keep regular appointments with your dentist and hygienist. Opting for a scale and polish will help to remove any food, plaque and tartar build-up from above and below the gum line, and regular check-ups will allow your dentist to alert you to any oral health concerns you should be aware of.
You’re also at a higher risk of gum disease if you:
- Have diabetes
- Suffer from stress
- On certain types of medication that lessen the flow of saliva
- Suffer from certain illnesses (such as cancer, as the treatment can increase risk)
- Have a family history of gum disease
- Are female, and suffer from hormonal changes