Gum Disease, also known as Periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition of the gums and supporting structures around teeth. It is one of the most common and widespread human diseases.
Gum disease is often characterised by swelling, redness and increased bleeding of the gums. The disease process is initiated in response to certain bacteria (plaque) that have been allowed to accumulate around the teeth and gums. The presence of this bacteria leads to an inflammatory response, and if left untreated this response can spread below the gums and down the root of the tooth, causing destruction of the supporting bone and ligaments. This can often lead to loosening of the tooth, and in some advances cases the tooth is lost.
In our mouth, we have over 700 different species of bacteria, most of which are completely harmless. However, when tooth cleaning is not thorough enough, the bacterial deposits build up next to the gums, forming plaque, and the conditions now become more suitable for the more dangerous bacteria to flourish. These dangerous bacteria can overcome the natural defences of our body, and multiply in their numbers.
If the soft plaque isn’t removed from our mouths, often by toothbrushing, it hardens and becomes calculus (also known as Tartar). This leads to further growth of the bacteria, and a deeper spread of the inflammation, and greater breakdown of supporting bone and ligaments.
Certain risk factors can increase the chances of getting gum disease:
Most common symptoms associated with gum disease
It is important to remember, Gum disease is often painless until the most advanced stages. And in many cases, bleeding and swelling around the gums is completely absent, making it very difficult to detect.