What is ‘gum disease?’

Gum disease is an inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth which can lead to tooth loss.

This inflammation causes toxins to be released which damage the connective tissues and bone of the teeth, and so effectively kills them. This can result in tooth loss.

Gum disease can cause ‘pockets’ to form between the tooth and gums which are also a fertile ground for bacteria. If the gum recedes then it can cause the tooth root to become exposed and increase its sensitivity.

Early signs of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Loose teeth

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease which is characterised by sensitive gums and heightened reaction to hot or cold drinks. You may also notice that your gums bleed when brushing them. These are all warning signs which need to be addressed to prevent long term problems.

If this is not treated then it can lead to the advanced form called ‘periodontal’ gum disease. This can actually affect the way your gums hold your teeth by causing them to shift their position. If this happens then you are looking at loosing those teeth.

Gum disease can be caused by a variety of factors which include poor dental hygiene, dry mouth (xerostomia), teeth grinding (bruxism), hormonal changes and medical conditions such as diabetes.

Your dentist will pick up on any signs of gum disease and treat them accordingly. However, you can help matters by following a daily dental hygiene routine which includes brushing and flossing the teeth.

Dental Hygiene Index:

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