What is gum disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is one of the most common infections, affecting 10-15% of the population. If your gums are swollen or bleed easily, there is a possibility that you might have gum disease. Other early symptoms include bad breath, which is usually a result from factors associated with gum disease such as poor oral hygiene and smoking. This bacterial irritation starts of as gingivitis (inflamed gingiva), then in some cases, certain bacteria may illicit a response involving irreversible loss of the bone around the teeth and its surrounding tissues, this is otherwise known as periodontitis.

Gingivitis is a reversible condition; however, it can progress to periodontitis, which results in destruction of the supporting bone around your teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can result in loose teeth, as the bone and attachments supporting the teeth are gradually compromised and destroyed. The teeth that are quite loose, are often uncomfortable and are subjected to unwanted drifting/movement. The end result of a loss of attachment of the tooth is ultimately tooth loss. Periodontitis can be a chronic disease, which means that the disease is ongoing and harder to control with a once off treatment. Bone loss resulting from periodontitis is often permanent, as it is difficult to regain bone regeneration and attachment previously lost.

What causes gum disease?

Accumulation of bacterial plaque and deposits of calculus on root surfaces within the gum pockets that are left because of poor hygiene practices, is the main cause of gum disease. The accumulation of bacterial toxins triggers an inflammatory immune response. In certain individuals, the immune response may be destructive, eventually causing loss of supporting bone leading to mobility and loss of the affected teeth.

The main risks factors of gum disease include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking
  • People suffering from diabetes, people on immunosuppressant medications
  • Other illnesses
  • Genetics
  • Hormones changes in women
  • Lifestyle factors

What are some of the signs and symptoms of gum disease?

Symptoms depend on the severity of the condition, with bleeding gums being one of the most common. In smokers, however, this sign can be masked or even absent due to their compromised blood supply. Other signs include bad breath, gum recession or mobility of the teeth, which can result in movement of the teeth. The end stage of periodontal disease is tooth loss, as a result of the loss of supporting structures around the teeth.

What to look out for:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen gums
  • Pus
  • Mobile teeth
  • Teeth appearing like they have erupted
  • Sensitivity with root exposure
  • Movement of teeth to different areas
  • Tenderness to chew

Prevention and treatment of periodontal disease

It is important to understand that gum disease is preventable. Incorporate these periodontal care tips into your everyday routine to keep your gums healthy:

  • Flossing at least once a day to remove food and plaque
  • Use of interdental brushes if gaps between teeth are present
  • Brushing your teeth after every meal
  • Focusing on cleaning areas which appear to be bleeding more than others
  • Purchase a therapeutic mouthwash
  • Get regular dental cleanings and checks

Periodontal treatment at Blackburn Family Dental Care

Here at Blackburn Family Dental Care, we check the status of your gum condition every 6 months. Areas that are unhealthy will be pointed out to you. In many cases, the gum disease can be controlled with a combination of careful screening; cleaning professionally in your check-up appointment as well as proper home hygiene. In extreme cases, however, periodontal surgery or more frequent appointments are necessary if your gums need a more thorough clean.

For more information, please contact us onĀ (03)98772589.

Alternatively, you can book us onlineĀ on this for a consultation on gum problems.

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1 Main St,
Blackburn VIC 3130

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Conveniently positioned for patients seeking cosmetic dental bonding in Blackburn, Box Hill, Burwood, Nunawading, Mitcham, Vermont, Forest Hill, Canterbury & Surrey Hills. Our Blackburn North Dental Clinic is next to Blackburn station via the Belgrave or Lilydale line. Walk towards Main St (2 minutes) and you will see a light blue signage.

Parking is available behind Blackburn Family Dental, entering Main St or alternatively on S parade.

Many buses, including 703 and 765, are also in close proximity to our Blackburn North dental clinic.