The Truth About Gum Disease
Over 50% of the UK population are presently experiencing some type of gum disease. Sadly approximately 10-15% of the population will lose a significant number of teeth as a result of undiagnosed and untreated gum disease. Early diagnosis is so important to simplify treatment, improve prognosis and keep your mouth fresh and healthy long term. Read on to learn more!
What to Look Out For
Early Symptoms - Bleeding Gums
The initial symptoms of gum disease can include: red and swollen gums, bleeding after brushing or flossing your teeth.
This is called gingivitis.
Advanced Symptoms - Bad Breath, Loose teeth and Abscesses
If gingivitis is untreated, the tissues and bone that support the teeth can also become affected. This is known as periodontitis, or periodontal disease.
Symptoms include: bad breath, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, loose teeth, gum abscesses.
Acute and Severe Symptoms
In rare cases, a condition called acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) can develop suddenly. The symptoms are more severe and include: bleeding, painful gums, painful ulcers, quickly receding gums, bad breath, metallic taste, difficulty swallowing or talking, a fever.
Spotting the Signs of Gum Disease With Hygienist Jennie Scott
What Causes Gum Disease?
Plaque is the most common cause of gum disease. We can support you and help you find even more efffective ways to reduce the plaque on your teeth.
Who is Most at Risk?
As well as plaque, there are a number of things can increase the risk of developing problems with your gums. These include smoking, your age (gum disease becomes more common as you get older), a family history of gum disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system (for example, because of conditions such as HIV and AIDS or certain treatments, such as chemotherapy), malnutrition (when a person's diet does not contain the right amount of nutrients), and stress.
What Happens If Left Untreated?
If you develop gingivitis and don't have the plaque or tartar (hardened plaque) removed from your teeth, the condition may get worse and lead to periodontitis. You may develop further complications if you don't treat this, including: recurrent gum abscesses, increasing damage to the tissue that connects the tooth to the socket and loss of the bone in the jaw that contains the sockets of the teeth, receding gums, loose teeth and loss of teeth.
How It Can Affect Your Whole Health
Gum disease has also been associated with an increased risk for a number of other health conditions, including: cardiovascular disease, lung infections and if affected during pregnancy, premature labour and having a baby with a low birth weight.
Prevention and Early Treatment
Good oral hygiene involves: brushing your teeth for about two minutes in the morning, and last thing at night everyday, using toothpaste that contains the right amount of fluoride, flossing your teeth daily, not smoking, regularly visiting your dentist.
Our hygienist or specialist may recommend using mouthwash if it helps control the build-up of plaque (the sticky substance that forms when bacteria collects on the surface of your teeth). We will be able to advise you about which type of mouthwash is most suitable and how to use it.
Scale and Polish
To remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that can build up on your teeth, you will need your teeth scaled and polished. This is a "professional clean" usually carried out at your dental surgery by a dental hygienist. The plaque and tartar will be scraped from your teeth using special instruments, then your teeth will be polished removing marks or stains. If a lot of plaque or tartar has built up, you may need several appointments.
In some cases of gum disease, root debridement may be required. This is a deep clean under the gums that gets rid of bacteria from the roots of your teeth. Before having the treatment, you may need to have a local anaesthetic (painkilling medication) to numb the are
If you have severe gum disease, you may need further treatment, such as periodontal surgery. Our team will be able to tell you about the procedure needed and how it's carried out.
Removal of Tooth and Replacement
In some cases, it may not be possible to save the tooth, and the removal of the tooth is necessary. Dental implants can replace missing teeth and are highly successful when the remaining teeth and mouth are healthy.
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Early diagnosis can save your teeth
Don't ignore the signs of gum disease, as a new patient, you can access help by arranging an Hygiene Appointment with our hygienist. No registration necessary. This is a 30 minute assessment and treatment appointment. Jennie will discuss your symptoms, assess your gums and start treatment. She may recommend more appointments or a referral.
If you alreday have a dentist, discuss if a referral might be appropriate to Dr Tim Steel, our highly experienced clinician, with over 14 years experience working in the Restorative Dental Departments of the York and Scarborough hospitals.