What is gum disease?
Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria in dental plaque. If left unchecked, it can lead to abscesses, infections, teeth becoming shaky and dropping out. At the early stage, gum disease is known as gingivitis. This is reversible. However, if left unchecked, it can proceed on to periodontitis, where gum and bone attachment to the tooth is loss irreversibly.
What causes it?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Bacteria forms a sticky yellow layer on the teeth known as plaque, and its toxic products irritates and affects the gums. If left unchecked, this plaque can grow and harden to form calculus, which further irritates and causes gum disease. At a later stage, more dangerous bacteria will be seen in the dental plaque which can cause loss of gum and bone attachment to the tooth.
How can it be treated?
The good news is, gingivitis is reversible and can be treated by maintaining good oral hygiene, coupled with periodic professional scaling and polishing. Treating periodontitis, however, will require excellent oral hygiene at home, professional deep scaling and root planing, and depending on the severity of the case, gum surgery and medication may also be prescribed.
How can I control and prevent gum diseases?
Gum disease is prevented by maintaining good oral hygiene, and having professional checkups and cleanings at least 6 monthly. Proper tooth brushing technique and daily flossing is necessary. Oral hygiene aids such as the interdental brush may be advisable as well. Do check with your dentist for more information!