What is gum disease?

Gum disease is the inflammation and infection of the tissues supporting the teeth caused by bad bacteria within dental plaque and tartar that forms on the surfaces of the teeth. In order to prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure that you remove all these bacterial deposits on a daily basis. This is done by effective daily flossing and brushing.

There are two main forms of gum disease called gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and as a result they become red, swollen and readily bleed upon brushing. Long-standing gingivitis and inflammation can turn into periodontal disease, where the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost and the teeth become loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.

Am I likely to suffer from gum disease?

Most people suffer from some form of gum disease and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. Fortunately the majority will only suffer from mild forms of gingivitis. However, certain patients, particularly those with family predisposition or those with malfunctioning immune system, might suffer from more advanced disease form with signs of accelerated and aggressive bone destruction. This destruction is not predictable and can occur sporadically. Smoking, a stressful lifestyle, poorly controlled diabetes and ineffective cleaning of the teeth are the main factors that are associated with advanced disease.

How do I prevent gum disease?

Gum disease is not curable but it is preventable and controllable. As we cannot usually feel or notice the onset of gum disease, both adults and children should be checked for gum disease as part of their routine dental check up with one of our dentists. In order to prevent gum disease and control existing disease you should carry out daily brushing and flossing, as well as see the hygienist on a regular basis. Remember, healthy gums do not bleed.