Three things you might not know about gum disease

Gum disease is a bacterial "infection" of the gums, which can cause tooth loss and a range of other health issues.

Gum disease is a condition where the gums become inflamed. It is caused when bacteria are left to build up on the teeth and gums and causes serious damage to the supporting tissue and bones. Although there is no cure, when the condition is diagnosed and treated early, the damage caused by gum disease can be stopped. Here's what you should know about the condition…

Diabetics are at greater risk of developing gum disease

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your chances of developing gum disease are significantly higher than those individuals without diabetes. In fact, research shows that diabetics have more than three times the risk of gum disease and tend to suffer a much higher rate of tooth loss.

If you have diabetes, it is especially important that you keep your teeth clean. This means that you should follow a stringent oral hygiene routine and come in for regular cleanings. It is important to note that gum disease actually increases insulin resistance and can make your diabetes more difficult to control. By getting your oral health under control, you will be able to improve your overall wellness.

Gum disease does not always cause symptoms

Gum disease is often known as a silent disease because it does not always present any real symptoms until it has progressed to a severe stage. Often, people only suspect that something is wrong when they notice that their teeth have shifted out of position or when they are suffering from a painful gum abscess.

In its earliest stage, gum disease is known as gingivitis and begins with inflammation of the gums. If you notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, it could be a sign of gingivitis. Some other possible signs of the condition include tooth discolouration caused by build-up of plaque.  

If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into early periodontal disease, in which case your gums may recede causing small spaces to form between your gums and teeth. These spaces or pockets are very susceptible to bacteria and "infection". Early periodontal disease can progress into moderate, and then advanced periodontal disease. In severe cases, the connective tissue that keeps the teeth in place starts to deteriorate and you may experience pain when chewing, as well as bad breath and tooth loss.

Prevention is your best bet

When it comes to gum disease, your best option is to try and avoid it completely because there is no cure for the condition. We recommend that you come in for regular dental check-ups as this will allow us to pick up on any signs of gum disease at an early stage. If your dentist identifies any gum disease, they will be able to monitor it and let you know how to prevent it from worsening over time.

Your dentist will also advise you on how best to stick to a good oral hygiene routine, which is key in the prevention of gum disease. We recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once daily to ensure that you remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along your gum line. It's also a good idea to come in for a professional clean once every six months so that we can remove any plaque and tartar that has accumulated on the surface of your teeth.

If you would like to find out more about gum disease or are ready to make an appointment for a dental check-up and clean, please get in touch with us here.