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When it comes to problems in dentistry that we need to get under control, this is the big one!

More teeth are lost each day from gum disease than any other dental problem.

What causes gum disease?

Plaque

Plaque (the bacterial population in every person’s mouth) causes gum disease.

There is a great variation in the type of plaque in different people’s mouths as well as each individual’s inherent ability to resist gum disease. That is, some people are genetically set up to have poor immunity against this disease.

In essence the problem of gum disease is eventually to do with the destruction of the bone that holds up teeth. Once the bone is lost, it cannot regenerate and therefore it is really important to prevent problems.

Tartar

Tartar (we call it calculus) is a hard deposit which forms on teeth in most of us.  Tartar attracts more plaque to an area and therefore causes more gum disease.

The amount of tartar which forms varies greatly from one individual to another and depends a lot on:

  • the pH of the saliva
  • the level of hygiene of the individual

Despite a lot of patient’s best efforts they still get some tartar on their teeth and this should be cleaned off regularly.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

What a patient needs to look for, first and foremost, is:

  • bleeding gums

Symptoms of advancing gum disease:

  • Looseness of teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Eventually pain
  • Gum recession

Once again, pain is not an early symptom of gum disease, so when we examine you it is really important for us to measure the health of the gums every time we see you.

How do you treat gum disease?

The main treatments for gum disease involve:

  1. Education
  2. Monitoring of good hygiene habits at home
  3. Professional cleaning of the teeth on a regular basis

Prevention of gum disease truly is a team effort!

If gum disease advances, the profession has specialists in this area who can help.