Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Your gums play a fundamental role in helping you maintain excellent oral health. They act as protective seals that inhibit the penetration of bacteria into your body, and they offer support and security, as their purpose is to hold your teeth in place.
Gums, like many other parts of the body, can be prone to disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, begins with bacterial growth in the mouth and can lead to tooth loss if not properly treated. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
If you want to keep your pearly whites in tact, understanding gum disease and recognising what signs to look out for is extremely important. Read on to learn about signs and symptoms of gum disease, and what you can do to prevent it.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque – the white sticky film that forms in all our mouths. Plaque is filled with bacteria, and some of this bacteria is good, while some of it is bad. If plaque is left behind after a period of time, it starts to irritate the gums and cause inflammation. Toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As it worsens, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Teeth are no longer anchored in place and become loose, resulting in tooth loss.
What are the symptoms of unhealthy gums?
Healthy gums are typically pink. Any change in its natural colour is a sign of poor health. However, when they are red and swollen, this is an indication that something is amiss.
Sore, tender, bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. These symptoms generally indicate gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. This stage is reversible, but if proper oral care is not taken, it will advance to severe stages of gum disease known as periodontitis.
What are the warning signs of gum disease?
If you think you might have gum disease, read through these warning signs. If any of these ring true for you, you should consult a dental hygienist immediately.
Bleeding gums when you brush, floss or eat hard food
Gums that recede back from the tooth, making you look long in the tooth
Halitosis (also known as bad breath)
Loose teeth or separating teeth
Puss between your teeth and gums paired with a bad taste in your mouth
How to treat gum disease
If you think you have gum disease, consult a dental hygienist. While a dentist looks after teeth, a dental hygienist offers specialised care for gums, including the management of periodontal disease.
Following a thorough evaluation of your gum health, treatment is carried out with focused cleanings, known as root surface debridement and often referred to as ‘deep cleaning’. This treatment involves cleaning under the gums and the use of specific instruments that remove plaque and deposits away from the teeth and gums.
Routine visits and a tailored oral hygiene routine will keep your gums in good health. Book an appointment with London Hygienist today for peace of mind.