Gum disease, also called periodontitis or periodontal disease is an infection of structures – the gum and bone – that support the teeth. This is usually caused by bacteria or germs in your mouth. Gum disease is painless and can progress until it is almost too late to save teeth.
It can cause bad breath and swollen bleeding gums and eventually the loss of teeth. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
The main cause of gum disease is plaque caused by bacteria, a sticky colourless layer that constantly forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed on a daily basis, it can build up on the tooth surface and turn into hard and rough calculus or tartar that allows even more sticky plaque to form. The bacteria in the plaque create poisons that destroy the surrounding gum and bone around your teeth.
Your immune system attacks not only the bacteria present in the sticky plaque but also the tissues surrounding them, causing deep pockets between teeth and gums. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen, more gum and bone is lost and teeth may become loose and eventually will have to be removed.
Your dentist will take a number of steps to check the health of the gums – checking the colour and the firmness of the gums using a probe as well as x-rays.
The main cause of periodontitis is the build up of plaque around the teeth and surrounding gum, which has failed to be cleaned. Smoking and poor diet can also be factors.
Losing a tooth can cause a number of issues if left untreated. Gum disease is very preventable and should be addressed as early as possible. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious health issues further away from the mouth, including the heart. Ensuring any harmful bacteria doesn’t spread is crucial as well as maintaining good oral hygiene.
After gum disease treatment, maintaining oral hygiene at home by flossing, brushing and using your tepe brushes is essentially to prevent worsening of the gum disease. We may do review appointments to check the state of the gums after the procedure. The cleaning done by you at home is as important as the cleaning done at the practice.