Gum disease has been linked to many different health diseases in recent years, from cancer to heart disease. It is therefore of vital importance to visit your dentist if any signs of gum disease occur.
What are the main signs of gum disease?
Bleeding gums are one of the main signs of gum disease, usually noticeable when you brush your teeth and spit blood. This is usually an indication of gingivitis, which is the precursor to more serious periodontitis. Gingivitis can be easily treated with a thorough dental cleaning, which must then be accompanied by a good oral hygiene routine at home. However, if gingivitis is left untreated it may progress into periodontitis, which results in symptoms such as enlarged gum pockets around the teeth, swollen gums and sores in the mouth. Periodontitis can often result in bone loss and tooth loss and in some severe cases, surgery is required to rectify the problem.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is most commonly caused by bacteria, which form a line layer of plaque to cover the teeth and gums. Bacteria then attack the teeth and gums, leading to infection and gum disease. Smoking can also exacerbate the problem, as well as medication, but genetics, diabetes and pregnancy can also be precursors to developing the problem.
What can I do to prevent gum disease?
Maintaining a good dental health cleaning routine is paramount to prevent gum disease. This should involve at least 2-3 minutes of cleaning, as well as flossing between the teeth to prevent bacteria from hiding and developing into a problem. A dental hygienist clean once a year is also highly recommended, as they are able to clean more effectively than your manual toothbrush.