disease or Periodontal Disease as dentists call it, is
caused by plaque – which is the name given to
the film of bacteria that collects on teeth. Gum disease
involves the inflammation of the gums and then infection.
Periodontal Disease is usually painless which can make
it harder to detect.
In its early stages just the gum is affected and the gums
become inflamed and appear red and swollen and will bleed
easily and the bleeding can often be noticed on brushing.
You may notice bad breath. At this stage if you get rid
of all the plaque and keep it away by careful brushing,
flossing and maybe the use of mouthwashes as well your
gums should return to normal.
If the disease is not stopped it continues to spread down
under the gum and the gums may become more swollen and
bleed more often. The plaque may harden to tartar around
the teeth. The infection spreads into the bone that holds
the teeth in place and in simple terms starts to dissolve
the bone away. Once the bone goes it cannot be naturally
The effect of losing bone is that the tooth may become
gradually loose and eventually if the disease process
is not stopped then the affected tooth or teeth will
fall out. In these later stages you will need the help
of a dentist or dental hygienist to carry out cleaning
under the gums to clean out the affected areas. If the
disease is severe then you may need to see a specialist
for treatment and sometimes gum surgery is required.
Gum disease can usually be prevented by good and careful
teeth cleaning and regular cleanings or scale and polishes
with your dentist or hygienist.
Studies have also shown
smoking is a risk factor for gum disease and every
effort should be stop
smoking as part of treatment for the condition.
Your dentist should check your gums at every check up
by gently probing round your teeth to check for areas of
bleeding or to look for areas where bone may be being lost.
Additionally routine x-rays will show the bone levels around
your mouth. Your dentist should be keeping a record of
the condition of your gums as they are as important as
If you go to the dentist regularly and keep your teeth
and gums clean there is usually no reason why you should
suffer from gum disease.