28 Oct A Quick Guide To Gum Disease
Periodontitis – what is it and how can you control it?
We all hear about gum disease, particularly since the majority of toothbrush and toothpaste companies decided to make it the main feature of their adverts following shocking statistics outing it as the number one cause of tooth loss in the UK.
Here at our Egham dentist we are happy awareness of the issue is being raised, but we do find the majority of our patients are still only really aware that if they spit blood when they brush their teeth, they could have gum disease.
For this reason, we thought it would be useful to give you a bit more information about this nasty disease, so you can have even greater awareness of it. This will in turn enable you to avoid it as far as possible and take control of reducing or removing your own risk factors.
What Is It?
Gum disease is a selection of different issues which affect the structures around your teeth that keep them in place. If causes your gums to swell, go red and potentially bleed. If it progresses it can cause your gums to recede, cause tooth decay and eventually damage the bone and soft tissues keeping your teeth in place.
The Two Main Stages
There are two stages of gum disease. Stage one is gingivitis which is where bacteria in plaque buildup, which can cause pain in the gums, irritation, inflammation and bleeding of the gums during brushing. At this stage the gums are irritated but the teeth are not negatively affected and are still firmly in place. No major tissue damage or bone damage should have occurred at this stage. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis which is more serious. Periodontitis affects the tissues and bones that keep the teeth in place, and if it is not treated the bone in the jaw can decay and gaps can form between the teeth and the gums. Eventually the teeth can loosen and fall out completely. It is important to note that not all cases of gingivitis will progress to become periodontitis if left untreated, but it remains a big risk.
What Are The Symptoms?
Early stages of gingivitis may not cause you any pain at all and you may not know you have it. Symptoms can include the gums being swollen and red, and the gums bleeding after brushing.
Symptoms of periodontitis (advanced gum disease) can be:
● Bad breath
● A bad taste in the mouth
● Abscesses in or on the gums
● Loosened teeth or loss of teeth
It is also worth mentioning that there is a condition called Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis which is a rare form of gum disease that develops suddenly and brings much more severe symptoms than gingivitis or periodontitis. Symptoms can be:
● Gums in between the teeth receding
● Bad breath
● Painful gums
● Bleeding gums
● Gum ulcers
● A metallic taste in the mouth
● Excess saliva
● A fever
● Problems talking
● Problems swallowing
If you are showing signs of ANUG seek professional help from your local Egham dentist immediately.
There are many different things that heighten a person’s risk of getting gum disease, these can be:
● Poor oral hygiene (not brushing your teeth regularly etc)
● Consistently consuming sugary drinks
● Not removing tartar (hardened plaque) from the teeth
● Age (it becomes more common as you get older)
● A family history of the disease
● Immune problems with certain conditions or medications
What Can Be Done About It?
The best way to lower your risk of gum disease is to remove or reduce your risk factors for it. Your main focus should be practising good oral hygiene;
● Brush your teeth for between 2 and 3 minutes every day, twice a day
● Use a toothpaste with flouride in it
● Floss your teeth every day
● Visit the dental hygienist for regular tooth cleaning
If you do get gum disease, all is not lost so do not panic. One of the best things you can do is ensure you visit us at our Egham dentist regularly so we can check for signs of gum disease and act quickly if signs of it are found. We also have Dr Schiefung Tay working for us who is a specialist in gum disease. So if you do have an established problem, or it has progressed to periodontitis, you really are in the best possible hands at our practice.
Visit Us At Crown House, Egham
If you want to talk to us about gum disease, or think you have symptoms of it, please give us a call on 01784432641 and we will be more than happy to book an appointment for you.