Gum disease refers to an inflammation of the gum line that can progress to affect the bone surrounding and supporting teeth. Gum disease usually comes in three stages namely; gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis (which is the most severe form).
This disease is usually painless so the only way to detect the illness is to watch out for one or more of the following symptoms:
- Swollen, tender or red gums that or gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Receding gums- gums that are moving away from the tooth
- Unusual Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Pus near the teeth and gums
- Sharp pain when chewing certain foods
Bacteria in plaque is the major cause of gum disease. When plaque is not removed, it can harden to tartar. Brushing and flossing can remove plaque but cannot remove tartar. Therefore the only way to prevent gum disease is to practice oral hygiene (brushing and flossing twice a day) and regular dental cleanings (preferably twice a year).
Regular dental check-ups can also greatly help to catch the onset of gum disease early before it becomes too serious. If your dentist notices that you may have gum diseases, they will recommend a form of treatment depending on the stage of the illness. Considering that gum disease has been linked to potentially fatal health complications like heart disease and cancer simple oral hygiene habits can actually save your life.