Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the gum tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage gums.
Research is now showing that gum disease is linked to Heart Disease. Studies are showing that if you have gum disease you have at least 2 times increase in risk of getting heart disease. This figure is taking into account all other factors. For more information ask your dentist or visit Pub Med (search for Periodontal Disease & Heart Disease).
In the early stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing. In the more advances stages of gum disease, called periodontitis the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth can become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
What Are The Signs Of Gum Disease?
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, see you dentist immediately:
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth, bad breath that does not go away
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
- The Dentists can now treat periodontal disease without the need for traditional gum surgery.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
The good news is that you can help prevent gum disease by taking good care of your teeth every day and having regular dental exams. Here’s how to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day
This removes the film of bacteria from the teeth. Be sure to use a soft-bristled tooth brush that is in good condition. Toothpaste and mouth rinses containing fluoride strengthen the teeth and help prevent decay.
Clean Between Your Teeth Every Day
Cleaning between your teeth with floss or interdental cleaners removes bacteria and food particles from between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Early gum disease can often be reversed by daily brushing and flossing. If you use interdental cleaners, ask your dentist how to use them properly to avoid injuring your gums.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Choose a variety of foods from the basic food groups such as breads, cereals and other grain products, fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Limit between meal snacks
Visit Your Dentist/Hygienist Regularly
It is important to have regular dental examinations and professional gum treatment is essential to prevent periodontal diseases.