If your gums are tender, bleeding, you have bad breath, or your teeth feel loose, you may have gum disease.
There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. While they differ in severity, both are mainly caused by poor dental hygiene.
If your gums become red, swollen, tender and bleed easily (particularly after brushing or eating), then you may have gingivitis. It usually begins during your childhood, although it can get worse as you get older. If left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis, a more severe form of the disease, where a gum pocket forms around the tooth. This pocket then becomes infected, which destroys the tooth bone and tissue, eventually leading to your tooth falling out.
What causes gum disease?
The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) says that the bacteria in plaque can cause periodontal disease.
If the bacteria is not removed every day when you brush and floss your teeth then the plaque builds up and hardens into tartar (calculus). The toxins in the bacteria of the plaque can also irritate your gums, causing them to pull away from the teeth and form periodontal pockets which may fill with more toxins and bacteria.
What are the signs of gum disease?
According to the NZDA, the following symptoms may be an indication that your gums are harbouring disease and bacteria:
red, swollen or tender gums.
bleeding while brushing or flossing.
gums that pull away from the teeth.
loose or separating teeth.
pus between the gum and the tooth.
persistent bad breath.
a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
a change in the fit of partial dentures.
However it’s important to note that sometimes gum disease can progress without you experiencing any signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to have regular check-ups with your dentist who can check for signs of periodontal disease
How to help prevent gum disease
By treating your teeth well, you can help reduce your risk of gum disease. Good dental habits to get in to include:
brushing your teeth twice a day.
flossing your teeth every day.
visiting your dentist regularly for a check-up and professional clean.
By brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and having regular dental appointments, you can help prevent gum disease, and ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong.