News & Tips from Somerset Dental

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What is Periodontal Disease and Are You At Risk?

What is Periodontal Disease and Are You At Risk?

Periodontal disease is a disease that affects the gums and can result in gum decay and tooth loss. The earlier/first stages of periodontal disease are often known as ‘gum disease’ or Gingivitis.

The Problems of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease can cause many problems in the mouth that affect the teeth, gums, tissue and bone structure. The most common include loose teeth, with more serious problems involving abscesses (holes) below the teeth, in the jaw bone and permanent harm to the bone and soft tissue that support the teeth and mouth.

If periodontal disease persists to a severe state, tooth extraction or other forms of surgery may be necessary.

How Do We Get Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by an excess of bacteria, plaque and tartar in the mouth, particularly when bacteria transform into plaque or tartar and settle on the teeth and gumline.

If the mouth is not regularly cleaned (i.e. from routine brushing and flossing) and the plaque/tartar is not removed, it can cause the gums to become infected, which in turn, can lead to gum disease and periodontal disease.

Tip: Only a professional dentist can remove plaque and tartar, so regular trips to the dentist (at least once every 6 months) are very important in preventing these diseases.

Who is Most At Risk?

While anyone who neglects their oral hygiene can develop periodontal disease, there are various groups that are more at risk than others:

  • Smokers are significantly more at risk of developing gum and periodontal disease; smoking limits the oxygenated blood that flows into the bodily tissue and that protect the body from infection and disease

  • People with diabetes are also more susceptible to oral infections, both of which can lead to gum disease and periodontal disease; keeping the mouth clean for diabetics is important
  • Those with a history of gum disease in the family can also be more likely to develop infections and disease if the mouth is not kept clean and healthy
  • People with low immune systems, like those with AIDS or cancer, are also at risk of infections and disease

Knowing the Signs of Periodontal or Gum Disease

Periodontal and gum disease can be recognised by a range of symptoms. If you notice or experience one or more of the following, make sure you book an appointment with our Narellan dentists as soon as possible.

  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that appear to be receding around the teeth (or teeth that look like they are getting bigger)
  • Inflamed, swollen or red gums (i.e. Gingivitis)
  • Ultra-sensitive teeth or gums that hurt when you brush, floss or eat
  • Teeth that are loose or that have changed position in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • A constant sour taste in your mouth

How Can You Prevent Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease and gum disease are both easily preventable, particularly in the earlier stages. To lower your risk of periodontal disease, here’s what you can do:

  • Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day
  • Use a fluoride-based toothpaste and mouthwash as part of your regular dental routine

  • Avoid smoking and eating too many acidic or sugary foods
  • Visit your dentist regularly (every 6 months) for cleans, checkups and x-rays

  • See your dentist immediately if you notice any of the symptoms of infection or disease – periodontal/gum disease is treatable early on, but the longer you leave it, the harder it may be to repair or reverse the damage

Have you noticed something wrong with your teeth or gums?

Book in for a checkup at Somerset Dental Care as soon as possible and our lovely dentists will help identify, treat or prevent any gum disease that may be occurring.