Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a gradual infection of the gums and, eventually, the underlying bones of the mouth. The progression of the disease is often painless and undetected until it creates serious problems and is directly related to how well you care for your teeth and gums. Most people over 30 are at an increased risk of developing it and, by the age of 40, over 70% of the population will have some form of the disease. In a small number of cases genetics play a role in its development
Gum disease is caused by a plaque build up on and around the teeth that eventually forms tartar, a hard substance which releases toxin and sulphur-producing bacteria capable of weakening the fibres that hold the gums to the teeth. This results in swelling, inflammation and bleeding (a condition known as gingivitis). Without treatment, the gum tissues decay considerably, pulling away from teeth and infecting and dissolving the bones below. This is called periodontitis.
To treat this disease, the diseased tissue, tartar and plaque is removed from the surface of your teeth and from below the gum line. If the disease is advanced, we may have to smooth your teeth to allow the gum tissue to heal properly and fill any deep spaces between your teeth and gums with antibiotic fibres that stop the growth of the toxin-producing bacteria while the gums heal. We will then close these gaps and, if bone decay is present, rebuild and shape the bone below the teeth.
Preventing tooth decay and gum disease
Early detection and proper dental hygiene are the keys to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste helps to remove the thin layer of bacteria that can release toxin-producing bacteria, and flossing will keep your mouth free from hard-to-reach residual food and bacteria. Finally, maintaining a balanced diet, not consuming too many sugary sweets and snacks and taking regular trips to the dentist will keep your gums and teeth healthy.