What Is Gum Disease?
When you’re concerned about your gums and start researching, it quickly gets confusing, with multiple technical medical terms being used to refer to the same thing— ‘gum disease’.
The NHS definition for gums disease is as follows - ‘Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected. It is caused by ‘a build-up of plaque on the teeth, a sticky substance that contains bacteria.’
What Is Gingivitis & Periodontitis
Gum disease is the general term used, but both gingivitis and periodontitis are words used to describe stages of gum disease.
Gingivitis describes early, mild (and reversible) gum disease, the kind marked by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed or flossed. It is estimated that over half of the UK population experience some form of gingivitis, and if is not addressed by improved oral care, it can progress and develop into the more serious (non-reversible) stage of gum disease called periodontitis.
The World Dental Federation estimates 15% - 20% of middle-aged adults suffer from severe periodontitis. Periodontitis attacks gums, bone and the connective tissue that holds teeth in place, eventually loosening them over time to the point that they could fall out.
Sign and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Blood in the sink after brushing or flossing are early signs of a, reversible form of gum disease. Left untreated, this early stage of gum disease can progress to an advanced stage, which can permanently damage the bones and tissue that hold teeth in place.
• Swollen or Puffy Gums: Healthy gums look firm and pink, if your gums are swollen,
puffy or tender, this can be the start of gum disease.
• Dusky red or dark red gums: You might notice this when brushing teeth or spitting.
• Bleeding gums: You might notice this during teeth brushing or dental flossing.
• Receding gums: This can occur at the advanced stage of gum disease.
• Loose or loss of teeth: This can occur at the advanced stage of gum disease.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Advanced Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. That’s why it’s best to pay attention to your oral health to prevent gum disease. Here are tips on how to prevent gum disease:
1. Improve Your Oral Hygiene Routine
Gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis develop when we’ve slackened on our oral care. Upgrading your routine to reduce bacteria in your mouth by brushing, flossing and swishing with mouthwash twice daily can help prevent gum disease taking hold.
2. Regularly Visit Your Dentist
Ensuring regular dentist check ups helps identify any problems with your oral health.