Inflammation of your gums (periodontal disease) is actually more common than tooth decay. It can lead to damage to the supporting structures of the tooth and the surrounding bone, and ultimately lead to losing your teeth. Such gum disease happens when plaque and tartar build up and create pockets of infection between gum and tooth.
The key signs that show you might have gum disease are: red or swollen gums, bleeding gums, bad taste, bad breath, gum shrinkage, teeth drifting apart, loose teeth. But a lot of gum disease doesn't show until it's quite advanced.
How we treat gum disease
During your regular hygiene appointment, we'll check your gums, using a blunt probe to very gently measure how deep are the pockets of infection which form around your teeth. We can also take X-rays to assess the health of the bone surrounding your teeth. We'll record this information and then check at regular intervals that your gum health is improving.
Where there is infection, thorough cleaning by our hygienist plus your own efforts will resolve the disease and prevent further bone or ligament loss. In some cases, though, you may need further treatment such as deeper cleaning, photo-activated (laser) disinfection, or a review of your bite/occlusion, which may well be making the problem worse.
How you can prevent gum disease
Regular hygiene appointments to clean your teeth are essential. But if you don't keep up good cleaning habits, your gum disease will come back again. So you need to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day to remove plaque and tartar before they build up. Also, because tooth brushing alone won't remove the plaque completely, you need to use floss or interdental cleaning as well.
If you do all these things and still have gum problems, then it may be because you have a 'bad bite': for further information click here. Or, your problems may be because you miss the same parts of your mouth every time you brush - toothbrushing can be very difficult, and you need to choose the correct type of brush, floss and interdental cleaning to achieve the best result. Our hygienist can advise you on what to use and how to brush for best effect.