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Gum disease (Periodontal disease)

Periodontal Disease is inflammation of the tissues which support teeth and attach them to the jaw. If inflammation only involves the soft gum tissue, it is called gingivitis, a precursor to periodontal disease. Once inflammation reaches the underlying bone, it is termed periodontitis.

Fig1: Gingivitis

What are the signs of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can sometimes go unnoticed until it is quite advanced, However, most people will notice some of the following:

  • Red, swollen gums.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Bad breadth.
  • Bad taste.
  • Gum Recession.
  • Teeth drifting apart.
  • Loose teeth .

Treatment will depend on how far the inflammation has gone. That is why periodontitis needs to be spotted as soon as possible.

Your hygienist will remove any deposits from pockets around affected teeth. This is done by scaling and root planing which may require several appointments.

As the crowns and roots of teeth become clean, gums will tighten up around the root surfaces.

As part of the treatment, it is essential for the patient to follow oral hygiene advice at home.

This will ensure a successful outcome.

Why might I be susceptible?
Periodontal disease is the Number One cause of tooth loss amongst adults. This is because a certain number of people (15-20%) have immune systems that overreact to the bad bacteria in their mouths. When this overreaction occurs, the immune system attacks and breaks down the bone and tissue that surround the tooth. This destruction is not predictable and can occur sporadically.

Fig2: Bone loss and gum recession
Are you living at high risk for gum disease?

Numerous studies have shown that smokers have more gum disease. Smokers have increased levels of tartar in the mouth, and experience more tissue irritation, which makes their gums more susceptible to disease. Smokers have more bone loss and heal less quickly than non-smokers.

When our immune system is stressed it is difficult to fight off the bacteria that cause gum infections.

Dental neglect:
Avoiding the dentist is a lifestyle choice that puts you at risk of contracting diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums.

Your hygienist or dentist works to prevent infection in your mouth from entering the bloodstream and reaching vital organs.

Heart disease:
Products released as a result of gum disease and bacteria, can cause heart disease, and in some cases, increase the risk of a fatal heart attack.

New studies show that 70% of the fatty deposits of stroke sufferers contain bacteria, of which 40% comes from the mouth.

This group of people are more likely to have gum disease than most people and gum disease makes it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.

Fig3: Bone loss

Premature birth:
Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be as much as seven times more likely to have a baby born early. Some research suggests that gum disease may increase the level of hormones that induce labour.

Plaque and Periodontal Disease
Plaque is the film of bacteria which is constantly forming on all teeth. Plaque causes dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal disease (gum disease). Click here to View article >>>

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