It goes without saying that we all like to think we have healthy teeth. After all, your smile can make or break your looks (think of how your favourite singer or actor would look with yellow or missing teeth).
When it comes to gum disease, it’s important we’re aware that it’s something that affects most of us at some point in our lives.
What is gum disease?
Explained simply, gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on teeth. There are two main stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis (you’ve probably heard of this one)
This very early gum disease affects the surface layers of the gum, and in particular, where the gum meets the tooth.
Gingivitis can be reversed which means it’s very important that you’re pro-active and visit your dentist who’ll be able to guide you further.
Don’t stop brushing your teeth because red or puffy gums are causing you pain. It’s vital that you continue to practice good oral health so keep on brushing your teeth as this will help you to fight the bacteria and plaque that’s causing the problem.
Common signs of gingivitis:
- Bleeding (especially when you’re brushing your teeth or even eating)
- Red gums
- Swollen gums
If gingivitis isn’t treated, an advanced form of gum disease develops called periodontitis.
Confused by the name? Yes, it’s a bit of a tongue-twister but to explain, the periodontium is made-up of a group of structures that surround and support the teeth which in turn, keeps teeth in place.
The word ‘periodontal’ means ‘around the tooth’.
Periodontitis is the inflammation of these structures due to the bacteria housed in plaque and the body’s immune response to it.
What’s most scary is that periodontal disease may progress painlessly, making your regular dental check-ups all the more important. If you do develop what is often called chronic gum disease, you may learn you could be at an increased risk of losing your teeth.
Common signs of periodontitis:
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Receding gums (in other words, the gum line shrinks away from the tooth which makes your teeth look longer)
- Bad breath
- An unfamiliar, bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Tenderness when biting into something
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, ring your nearest NovaDental clinic to make an appointment today.