Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common but preventable condition that affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. This article provides a comprehensive overview of gum disease, including its causes, symptoms, prevention strategies, and treatment options.
The primary cause of gum disease is plaque, a sticky film composed mainly of bacteria. Plaque forms on your teeth when the starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria commonly found in your mouth. If not removed promptly through brushing and flossing, plaque can harden under your gumline into tartar. Tartar is more difficult to remove and requires professional dental cleaning. The longer plaque and tartar stay on your teeth, the more damage they can do.
Gum disease can present a variety of symptoms. These include swollen or puffy gums, bright red or dark purple gums, gums that feel tender when touched, gums that bleed easily, bad breath that won’t go away, pus between your teeth and gums, loose teeth or loss of teeth, painful chewing, new spaces developing between your teeth that look like black triangles, and gums that pull away from your teeth (receding gums).
Preventing gum disease involves adopting good oral hygiene habits and getting regular professional check-ups. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth every day using floss or interdental brushes can help reduce bacterial plaque formation. It’s also recommended to replace your toothbrush every 1 to 3 months. Regular dental check-ups are essential for early detection and treatment of gum disease.
The goal of treatment is to thoroughly clean the pockets around teeth and prevent damage to surrounding gum tissue and bone. Treatment may involve less invasive procedures such as scaling (removal of tartar and bacteria from tooth surfaces and below the gumline) and root planing (smoothing root surfaces to prevent further buildup of tartar and bacteria). In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to control bacterial infection.
If gum disease is advanced, dental surgery may be required. This could include flap surgery (also known as pocket reduction surgery), where the periodontist makes cuts in your gums to fold back the tissue for more effective scaling and root planing. In some cases, soft tissue grafts may be needed when you lose gum tissue.
In conclusion, gum disease is a serious condition that requires prompt attention. Regular dental check-ups combined with good oral hygiene practices can help prevent this disease. If you notice any symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to consult with us at Verve Dental on (03) 9654 5881 as soon as possible for early diagnosis and treatment.