If you suffer swollen or tender gums when brushing, chances are you may have the early stages of gum disease.
Estimated to affect half of all adults over the age of 30, untreated gum disease can go on to have major ramifications for your dental health and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
If you have swollen or tender gums, or your gums are receding from your teeth, here’s what you need to know about dealing with gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Caused by bacteria and a build-up of plaque, gum disease sees the gums that support the teeth become tender and inflamed. Left untreated, it can lead to the gums receding from teeth, causing them to loosen and can even progress to the jaw bone, resulting in bone loss, tooth loss and altered facial features.
The good news is the early stages of gum disease can be reversed or managed.
Gum disease symptoms
Gum disease can start painlessly and almost unnoticeably with the first sign usually being gums that are swollen or bleed when brushing. Further indications you may have gum disease include:
- Gums that are receding from the teeth
- Teeth that don’t fit together the way they used to
- Infection or pus on the gumline
- Loose teeth
- A persistent bad taste in your mouth
- Partial dentures that do not fit as they did previously
Gum disease stages
Stage 1 (Gingivitis) – The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. It involves the gums becoming tender, inflamed and prone to bleeding due to a buildup of plaque and infection along the gum line. At this stage gum disease is treatable and often reversible.
Treatment involves removing the plaque, visiting your dentist regularly and practicing good oral hygiene including daily flossing.
State 2 (Periodontitis) – By the time gum disease reaches periodontitis the supporting bone and fibres that hold your teeth in place have been irreversibly damaged. At this stage professional care is a must.
Usually treatment involves scaling and root planing. This is essentially a very deep clean to remove any plaque and halt further infection.
Stage 3 (Advanced periodontal disease) – At this stage, the symptoms of gum disease will likely be noticeable. Affected teeth might feel sensitive and even loose and more extensive treatment like surgery or laser therapy might be required to halt the spread of infection.
How do you prevent gum disease?
Although gum disease is common, it is preventable and even manageable. The best way of preventing gum disease is to visit your dentist regularly – at least twice a year. Your dentist has a trained eye that can spot the early signs of gum disease and will also clean your teeth to remove any plaque build-up.
Meanwhile, good oral hygiene is a must, including brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day.
If you believe you may have gum disease, it is imperative you visit your dentist sooner rather than later. The earlier gum disease is identified and treated, the less likelihood there is that the bones and supporting fibres around the teeth will be affected.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.