Gum disease is one of Australia’s most common dental issues, with most people experiencing it at some point in their lives. It occurs when the gums around your teeth become infected due to bacterial growth, potentially leading to tooth loss or decay if untreated.
In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about gum disease, including the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention tactics. Keep reading to learn how to avoid gum disease or what to do if you suspect you may already have it.
What causes gum disease?
In most cases, gum disease is caused when plaque collects along your gum line and on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky, bacteria-filled substance that is created when bacteria in your mouth mixes with sugary and starchy foods that you eat (such as soft drinks, sweets, and bread).
Plaque irritates your gums, which can cause redness, swelling, and bleeding. Soon after it forms, plaque can be removed by brushing your teeth, which is why brushing twice per day is critical for good oral health. When you don’t brush, plaque will continue to grow. Eventually, it may harden and form calculus or tartar, which requires professional removal.
Although plaque is the most common cause of gum disease, it is not the only one. You may be more prone to if you smoke, use illegal drugs, take certain medications, have certain illnesses (such as diabetes), or have a family history of dental disease.
Stages and symptoms of gum disease
Gum disease happens in two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is an early, less severe form of gum disease that affects the top layers of the gums and the gum line. If you have gingivitis, you’ll likely experience red and swollen gums that may bleed when you brush, floss, or eat. Fortunately, with proper oral hygiene, gingivitis is reversible.
On the other hand, periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease that can occur if gingivitis is left untreated. Periodontitis weakens the gums near your teeth, creating “periodontal pockets” between the tooth and gum. Bacteria fill these pockets, which can eventually lead to bone loss or damage and require the removal of the tooth.
If you have periodontitis, you’ll have the symptoms of gingivitis described above. But you may also notice other signs, including receding gums, loose or sensitive teeth, and bad breath.
Prevention and treatment of gum disease
With a healthy oral care routine, you can prevent gingivitis and periodontitis. Make sure to brush your teeth twice per day (for two minutes at a time) and floss once daily. And don’t forget to schedule dental check-ups twice per year.
However, if you’re noticing signs and symptoms of gum disease, book an appointment with your dentist in East Bentleigh right away. During your visit, your dental professional will examine your teeth and gums and explain what to do to get your healthy smile back. With early treatment, you can prevent long-term damage to your teeth, including tooth loss and decay.
At Verve Dental, we pride ourselves on friendly and gentle dental care. Even if it’s been a while since you’ve gone to the dentist, our caring and professional team will make sure you’re comfortable at every point of your visit.
Book online or call Verve Dental today on 03 9570 5188.