This early form of gum disease occurs when dental plaque, the bacterial film that covers the surfaces of your mouth, builds up on your teeth, particularly where the gum and tooth meet. ?When this happens, your gums may appear red, swollen and feel extra sensitive and bleed easily. Fortunately, gingivitis doesn’t lead to loss of the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place and can be reversed with twice daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist.
Ignoring the bleeding caused by gingivitis could lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis.
The reason this disease is so serious is that it causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, forming spaces (known as “pockets”) that can easily become infected. Naturally your body’s immune system fights the infection, but this response and the bacterial toxins generated by the infection combine to create a toxic brew that breaks down the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place and in severe cases, can lead to their removal.
While periodontitis can be managed effectively (particularly if caught early), it can cause considerable damage and treating it will require your dentist’s ongoing assistance. Your dentist may decide to refer you to a gum specialist (Periodontist), who specialises in diseases of this nature.
You have a range of options to prevent gum disease. First and foremost, you should maintain a consistent routine of brushing and flossing and see your dentist regularly for a professional clean, which removes tartar (calculus or hardened plaque) from hard-to- reach areas which can be susceptible to developing gum disease. ?Your dentist can also perform regular examinations of your gums for any signs of gum disease. If you have more advanced gum disease you may be referred you to a periodontist.