Gum Disease

Your mouth constantly produces a clear, sticky substance called plaque that is swimming with bacteria. Bacteria make toxins that irritate gums and cause gum tissue to break down. If you don’t regularly remove plaque from your teeth, it can spread below the gums and damage the very bone that supports the teeth. With time, plaque hardens into tartar, a solid substance that can only be removed by your dentist or dental hygienist.

The best thing you can do to prevent gum disease is to practice a healthy dental routine:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss once a day and use mouthwash
  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups
  • Do not smoke. Did you know almost 50% of smokers have some form of gum disease. Additionally there is now firm evidence to prove gum disease as a risk factor for heart disease as well.

Prevention of gum disease

Prevention is always better than cure but catching gum disease early is infinitely preferable to letting it develop into something more serious and potentially irreversible.

The most obvious signs of gum disease are:

  • Bad breath that just doesn’t go away
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily during flossing or brushing
  • Pain when chewing
  • Teeth that are mobile
  • Sensitive teeth

Indications that the condition has developed into something more serious are:

  • Gums pulling away from teeth or receding (making teeth appear longer.)
  • A change in how your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Loose teeth and recurrent abscesses
  • Your dentist will be able to assess just how far the gum disease has progressed and suggest suitable treatments ranging from a change in daily routine to deep cleaning treatments and, in severe cases, surgery.

The moral of the story is: try to keep your teeth and mouth in tip top condition, but if you are concerned about changes to your teeth and gums, consult your dentist sooner rather than later.


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