Gum Disease (Gingivitis / Periodontal Disease)
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue, it is a serious condition that starts as gingivitis and can progress to periodontitis. According to the British Dental Health Foundation "19 out of 20 people suffer from gum disease (gingivitis) at some point in their life making it the most common disease in the world".
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue due to a build of plaque or tartar around the gumline and if treated can be reversed. If left untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis which is far more serious and is irreversible but can be stopped from progressing any further. If you think you may have gingivitis it is important you go to your dentist.
Periodontitis occurs when the inflammation has progressed and starts to destruct the bone supporting the tooth. If left untreated periodontitis will result in tooth loss. Hopefully you will have gone to your dentist in the early stages of gingivitis, however if not it is even more important to go to your dentist if your gingivitis has progressed to periodontitis.
A build up of plaque or tartar along the gum line or between teeth is the main cause of gingivitis but the following are major factors that contribute to the likelyhood of gingivitis ocurring:
- Hormonal changes - such as during puberty or pregnancy.
- Bruxism - clenching and grinding your teeth.
- Poor nutrition.
Symptoms of gingivitis are:
- Bleeding gums.
- Gums are swollen and a deep red colour or very pale.
- Receding gum line.
- Bad breath.
- Tooth sensitivity.
- Loose teeth.
Treatment of gingivitis depends on the severity of the condition. It is important to see your dentist so they can recommend the appropriate treatment at the early stages of gingivitis which may be as follows:
- Gingivitis treatment is a good oral hygeine routine and regular visits to the dentist to remove any build up of plaque.
- Antibiotics may be needed.
- Periodontitis treatment may involve scaling and root planing to remove the build up tartar.
- A local anaesthetic may be needed.
- In severe cases surgery may be necessary.
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