What Are The Stages of Gum Disease?
Are Your Gums In Good Health?
From gingivitis to advanced periodontitis, learn the symptoms and stages of gum disease so that you can seek appropriate remedial treatment.
If you notice blood when you’re cleaning your teeth, then this is a sign that you might have gum disease. We’ve all seen this depicted in toothpaste adverts, and yet between 50-70% of the British population have some form of the disease, with around 15% at significant risk of experiencing tooth loss according to a study conducted by UCL Hospitals.
Why is gum disease so prevalent when we know that it’s a serious problem? Some people mistake the signs and symptoms of the condition with dietary issues, whilst others are too embarrassed or anxious to seek treatment.
Understanding the various stages of gum disease and visiting your dentist regularly are essential if you want to achieve excellent gum health both now and in the future.
At the initial stage of gum disease, bacteria caused by food that isn’t cleaned away from the surface of your teeth will produce a colourless film that grips to your enamel. Over time, and without adequate brushing and flossing, this hardens into a more dangerous yellow substance known as plaque. An Essex dentist reveals that this can cause your gums to become inflamed when plaque is present on the gumline. This is where you’ll see your gums start to bleed after brushing. You might also note a foul taste in your mouth or be embarrassed about having bad breath, which is known as halitosis.
In more advanced cases of gingivitis, you might notice that your teeth have lengthened, or that there is a pocket-like gap between the gum and your teeth.
Even though gingivitis is an unpleasant condition to have, there is much that can be done to reverse the situation, so long as you attend your dentist and commit to positive oral hygiene habits in the future. In many cases, a regular scale and polish can work wonders on top of regular brushing and flossing at home.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance into periodontitis which is where there is extensive damage to both the underlying bone as well as the fibres that hold your teeth in place. The gap between the gum and tooth can be so enlarged that food and plaque become trapped in there, thus worsening the condition. You may feel pain more readily, as your nerves become exposed.
Although periodontitis is more advanced than gingivitis, there is still a chance at this stage that corrective dental treatment as well as improved oral hygiene at home can halt the progression of periodontitis in its tracks.
Unfortunately, where dental treatment fails or the patient does not commit to taking proper care of their teeth and gums, advanced periodontitis may be diagnosed. At this stage, your bone and oral fibres are completely destroyed which will prevent your teeth from remaining in their original place. They may start to loosen or shift around, which can weaken the position of neighbouring teeth. Your bite may be affected, and some teeth may need to be removed, or could even fall out on their own.
Gum disease is entirely preventable so long as you seek early treatment and visit a reputable dentist for regular checkups. Your oral health team will be able to grade your gums to determine if they have receded and can carry out corrective treatment as needed to stop the condition from progressing. Make an appointment with your dentist today.