Gum disease is extremely common. It is estimated that over 45% of adults in the UK have the condition; and most people have it in some form at one point during their lives. For those who are worried about gum disease, the news is good – it can be treated; and there are lots of things that can be done to prevent it recurring.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a condition whereby a person’s gums become inflamed, sore or infected. The earliest stage of gum disease is also known as gingivitis; the symptoms of which include bleeding from the gums during brushing and less than fresh smelling breath.
When a person develops gingivitis but does not get any treatment, it can develop into periodontitis. This can result in the bone within the jaw deteriorating, which causes gaps to form between the teeth and gums. A person experiencing this is also at high risk of losing a tooth or teeth.
Why do people get gum disease?
For many people, gum disease is a direct result of plaque which has formed on the teeth over time. Plaque causes the deterioration of the teeth and gums because of the bacteria contained within it. Fortunately, plaque can be removed by brushing the teeth, but if this is not done – then gum disease may the eventual result.
What happens if gum disease isn’t treated?
It’s really important to see a good dentist for advice on treating gum disease. People who do not take action are at risk of gum recession. As well as looking unsightly, if the gums diminish in a substantial capacity – the teeth may become loose or fall out altogether. Untreated gum disease can also be a significant contributor to abscesses on the gums, as well as a whole host of other health problems.
Gum disease can have an impact on the whole of a person’s health and wellbeing. For example, some studies have linked the condition to the onset of dementia, heart disease and more. As well as potentially causing other physical health problems, gum disease can also erode a person’s confidence when it comes to their appearance. This can have a wide-ranging impact on a person’s professional and social life.
Protecting oneself from gum disease
Although gum disease and its potential complications can seem a little scary; it’s actually really easy for people to protect themselves from developing the condition in the first place. Simply cleaning and flossing the teeth twice every day means that the plaque that causes gum disease is removed before it can do any damage.
People concerned with preventing gum disease should also have regular check-ups with a good dentist. The dentist can remove any plaque that the patient hasn’t managed to get rid of; and can examine the teeth and gums to check that all is well. Any cases of bleeding gums should be referred to the dentist as soon as possible so that the patient can regain full gum health.