It is a fact that the older you get the more likely you are to develop periodontal disease (gum disease) and, therefore, your mouth demands more care as time goes on. However, gum disease not only occurs in older people, there are other risk factors that can allow gum disease to set in and progress whatever your age, e.g. poor oral hygiene, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, medication, hereditary factors and stress are all related to periodontal disease.
If your mouth is healthy, your gums should fit snugly around each tooth. With gum disease, this gum support begins to slacken eventually leading to deeper spaces around your teeth called periodontal pockets. If untreated, these pockets can lead to tooth loss. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, you can hold on to your teeth for a lifetime.
How does a periodontal pocket form?
The bacteria in your mouth continually form a sticky film of plaque on your teeth, especially around the gum area. If this plaque is not removed, it eventually hardens into tartar, which cannot be got rid of without a dentist or dental hygienist removing it during a professional scale and polish.
The inflammation and swelling due to plaque and tartar can result in pocket formation between the gums and the teeth. As the gum begins to pull away from your teeth, the inflamed gum tissue creates a perfect place for more plaque and tartar to hide, deepening the pocket and posing a threat to the supporting bone around your teeth.
How is gum disease diagnosed?
Should you start experiencing bad breath, bleeding, red and swollen gums or slackened gum around your teeth, make an appointment at your dental clinic as soon as possible. Your dentist will assess your gum tissue, measure the pocket depth around each tooth and determine whether gum disease has set in and, if so, how far it has progressed.
How can periodontal pockets be treated?
The first step in treating gum disease is to have a scale and polish carried out at your dental clinic. By removing all the plaque and tartar from your teeth and underneath your gums, the gums can heal and tighten around the tooth again. If there is no significant bone loss, this may be the only treatment you need. However, in cases where deep periodontal pockets persist, your dentist may recommend a surgical procedure to stabilise your periodontal condition. Once you have completed periodontal treatment, your dentist or dental hygienist will definitely recommend a more frequent scale and polish schedule.
Prevention at home
Gum disease is preventable; however, it is vital to keep up a thorough, consistent oral hygiene routine and have regular dental check-ups … prevention is better than cure! Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush which will allow you to brush around your gumline where plaque tends to accumulate. Do remember that flossing is as important as brushing when it comes to preventing gum disease and make sure you are flossing correctly! The use of mouthwash will also help. Finally, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
By diagnosing and treating gum disease in its early stages, it can be controlled before progression of periodontal pockets to severe bone loss and subsequent tooth loss. Why not contact us now for a FREE first consultation at ICEO Dental, we will carry out a thorough dental check-up and provide you with a no-obligation quote for any dental treatment necessary.
ICEO Dental – Experts in Periodontics