Gums and Periodontal Health
Are pink in colour, are firm, do not bleed and are not tender.
Are red, bleed easily and can be inflamed (swollen) and tender.
This is called gingivitis and it is the early stage of gum disease.
Bacteria that have been left behind after cleaning, multiply and form colonies (plaque). These colonies are protected by calculus or tartar – the hard yellow and sometimes black build-up around teeth. These bacteria produce toxins that irritate the gums (gingiva) and lead to bleeding and swelling.
With professional cleaning and good home care, gingivitis is reversible. If left untreated this can lead to periodontal disease.
This is the later stage of gum disease.
If gingivitis is left long enough, the bacterial infection spreads down the root of the tooth and starts attacking the bone that holds the tooth into the jaw. Calculus builds up under the gum preventing the bacteria from being easily removed. With time, the tooth can become loose and may eventually fall out or be removed. The infection in the mouth can also spread and affect your overall health.
How do I know if I have periodontal disease?
Most people feel little or no pain from periodontal disease and so often do not know if they have it. Some signs include:
- Bleeding gums (blood on their toothbrush or teeth)
- Swollen/inflamed gums
- Bad breath
- Gums that are loose, not firmly attached to teeth
- Pus present in and around the tooth
- Loose teeth
How can this be treated and prevented?
Dental practitioners can educate patients in the best ways to clean their teeth and gums to slow down the progress of the disease. Periodically, depending on how effective the patient is at cleaning, a dental practitioner will need to remove the calculus and plaque that protects the bacteria. The treatment required, the length of time and cost will depend on how much build-up of the plaque and calculus there is and how far the disease has progressed.
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of unhealthy gums, gingivitis or periodontal disease, you’re welcome to call us.