Gum disease information

Healthy Gums

Routine Hygiene session
Direct Access Hygienist

Teeth are held firmly in place by the gums, bone and ligament. Gums hug the teeth tightly when there is little or no buildup of plaque and tartar.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis Treatment
Book with Dentist first

The bacteria in plaque irritate the gums, making them red, tender, swollen and likely to bleed. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar.

Periodontitis

Gum Disease Treatment
Book with Dentist or Periodontist

In time, as plaque and tartar build up along the gumline, plaque bacteria break down the soft tissues that support the tooth. Read More…

As the disease progresses, bacteria attack the bone tissue also and cause bone loss.

Show Less

Live longer and healthier with Healthy MouthThe mouth is a window into the health of the body. Taking good care of our teeth and gums isn’t just about preventing cavities or bad breath but living healthier and longer.

The mouth is filled with many bacteria. Some of these bacteria are linked to tooth decay and gum (periodontal) disease. There are more and more evidences showing gum disease is connected with diabetes, heart disease, stroke and many other systemic disease.

Diseases like diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV infections and AIDS lower the body’s resistance to infection. This can make periodontal diseases more common and more severe. Ongoing inflammation from periodontitis is linked with heart disease, blocked arteries and stroke.

People with diabetes commonly have periodontal disease and they are more likely to develop and have more severe periodontitis than are nondiabetics.

Gum disease is not painful!  We can have periodontal disease and not notice any of warning signs below. That is why regular dental checkups are essential.

  • gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • red, swollen, or tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • pus between the teeth and gums
  • loose or separating teeth
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures

Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film that is always forming on our teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that can irritate and inflame the gums. Inflamed gums can pull away from the teeth and form spaces called “pockets.” These pockets are less accessible for routine brushing and collect more bacteria. If the infected pockets are not treated, the gum disease can get worse.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss or use another between-the-tooth cleaner daily to remove plaque and bits of food from areas your toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Your dentist or hygienist may recommend using a germ-fighting mouth rinse or other products.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit snacks.
  • Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly.If plaque stays on your teeth, it hardens into tartar (also called “calculus”). Professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar, which traps bacteria along the gumline.

Anyone can get periodontal disease however the risk is higher in case of: :

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tobacco.People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to have periodontal disease.
  • Diseasesthat affect the whole body-such as diabetes and AIDS-lower resistance to infection.
  • Many medications,such as steroids and blood pressure drugs, can affect your gums. Some have side effects that reduce saliva, which can affect soft tissues and make tooth decay more likely. Tell your dentist about all the medications you take and any changes in your health.
  • Teens, pregnant women and those taking birth control pillsface changes in hormone levels. These changes can cause gums to become more sensitive to plaque bacteria.
  • Genes may play a role.If your parents wear dentures or you have a family history of tooth loss, be extra alert for changes to your gums.
  • The bacteria that cause periodontal diseasemay be passed from parents to children and between partners through saliva.

Our dentist or hygienist uses a periodontal probe to gently measure the depth of the pockets around each tooth. When teeth are healthy, the pocket depth is usually three millimeters or less. Generally, the more severe the disease, the deeper the pocket.

Dental x-rays usually are taken to check for the amount of bone supporting the teeth. If the dentist finds periodontal disease, he or she may provide treatment or may refer you to a periodontist (a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases).

Periodontal probe of healthy gums
Periodontal probe of healthy gums.
Periodontal probe showing
Periodontal probe showing a pocket forming between the tooth root and the gums.
X-ray showing supporting bone
X-ray showing supporting bone.
X-ray showing periodontal bone loss
X-ray showing periodontal bone loss.

Gum disease is a chronic one. There is no cure for it but it can be controlled as long as you keep up the home care you have been taught and regular visiting hygienist and dentist for review sessions. Any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. Just you must make sure you remove plaque every day and go for regular check-ups by the dental team.