Gum disease is a common condition that affects many people. Gum disease can often be prevented by avoiding key risk factors and by maintaining good oral hygiene.
Types of Gum Disease
Gingivitis – In the early stage of gum disease, plaque builds up along the gum line and causes inflammation (swelling) of the gums surrounding the teeth. This is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis can be painless so you may not know you have it. However you may notice swelling and bleeding while brushing or flossing. This is a reversible issue that is treated with professional cleaning and optimal oral hygiene.
Periodontitis – If gingivitis is allowed to progress, the inflammation can lead to further damage to the bone and tissues around the teeth. Pockets may form between the teeth and gums where plaque can easily collect. Some of the common signs of periodontitis are: redness, soreness and swelling of the gums, bleeding, loosening of the teeth, receding gums or longer looking teeth or bad breath that won’t go away. Periodontitis doesn’t happen to everyone, but there are some risk factors that make it more likely, as described below.
If any of these risk factors are a part of your life, be sure to speak to us. We can discuss a treatment plan that can help prevent or halt the progression of your gum disease.
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
- Individuals with compromised immune systems
- Certain medications
Gingivitis (early stage) can be easily treated, and is usually eliminated by a professional cleaning by the dentist or hygienist followed by regular brushing and flossing to remove plaque.
Periodontitis (advanced stage) is more difficult to reverse, as by this stage, there is often permanent damage to the bone and tissues surrounding the teeth. Nevertheless, progression of the disease can be controlled or halted with regular professional deep cleanings (scaling and root planing) as well as improved oral hygiene (plaque control) and diet. The dentist might also suggest changing certain behaviours such as quitting smoking. In severe cases, the dentist might suggest medication or surgical options such as bone and tissue grafts to regenerate lost bone and gum tissue.