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What are the symptoms of gum disease?
Gums in good condition should hold your teeth securely in place, be pink in colour, and firm to touch.The symptoms of the early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis, include swollen gums that are red in colour, and, in some cases, bleeding after brushing or flossing of the teeth. (Source: NHS Choices)
The latter stage of gum disease is also known as periodontal disease, and can include bad breath, bad taste in the mouth, loose teeth and abscesses under the gums.
What causes gum disease to occur?
The main cause of gum disease is a lack of good dental hygiene. Not brushing regularly, flossing, etc, causes a build-up of plaque. This turns to acid, which attacks both the teeth and gums.
What else can contribute to my chances of getting it?
There are other risk factors which increase the likelihood of gum disease, including smoking, age, family history, diabetes, malnutrition, and stress. A weakened immune system due to, chemotherapy, for example, can also increase your chances (Source: NHS Direct).
How can gum disease be treated?
Treating gum disease comes down to practising a sensible oral hygiene regime. In practice, this means brushing twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, flossing regularly, and going to the dentist for check-ups. It’s also advised that smokers quit the habit, to protect their teeth and gums (Source NHS Choices).
Additional treatment can come in the form of using certain types of mouthwash, and scale and polish treatments at the dentist. There are also more advanced treatments like root planing, periodontal surgery, and even tooth removal. Prescription medication such as painkillers and antibiotics may also be administered by your dentist.
What can I do to stop prevent the onset of gum disease?
As always, brushing regularly, flossing and generally looking after your teeth will help to ensure that you keep gum disease at bay. Seeing your dentist twice a year will enable any instances of gum disease to be diagnosed early, with treatment and advice to prevent further occurrence.