We’ve all heard of gum disease but we may not know what it actually is. There are three forms of gum disease, including:
- Gingivitis: when your gums become irritated by plaque
- Periodontitis: when your gums may pull away from your teeth leaving small pockets
- Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG): a severe form of the disease, which occurs suddenly if the other forms of gum disease haven’t been treated and can cause severe tooth loss.
What are the signs of gum disease?
Most people do not realise they are suffering with gum disease, as it can often be painless at first and you may not have any symptoms, which is why you should visit your dentist regularly so they can spot the hidden signs of gum disease.
The initial symptoms of gingivitis include bleeding gums whilst brushing your teeth or swollen, red gums. If this isn’t treated then the gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, which can leave you with wobbly teeth, gum abscesses or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Finally, signs of ANUG can include:
- bad breath
- feeling unwell
- the sudden development of ulcers that bleed easily
- receding gums, which look like Vs between the teeth.
How is gum disease treated?
There are a number of treatments for gum disease so if you notice the signs, visit your dentist immediately. Scaling can be used to treat gingivitis and will involve your dentist or hygienist thoroughly cleaning your teeth with a gritty toothpaste, a special instrument called a scaler and an electronic toothbrush. They may also recommend an antiseptic mouthwash. If the gum disease is very severe then you may need gum surgery. There are a number of different surgeries used to build up the gum tissue that has been affected, although gum surgery is rare.
You can help prevent gum disease by maintaining a thorough dental hygiene routine and with regular visits to the dentist.