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What is Gum Disease?

Gum Disease is a condition that many people experience in their life. The root cause behind this is the build up plaque on teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance containing bacteria from food particles and saliva that builds up on and between your teeth. If plaque is not removed effectively and regularly from your teeth it can harden forming a hard yellow or brown substance called tartar.

There are two main stages of gum disease:

1. Gingivitis

This is the early stage of gum disease whereby the buildup of plaque causes inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. Toxins produced by plaque can lead to gum irritation causing them to become red and puffy or in some cases it can lead to bleeding. The good news is that at this stage, Gingivitis is reversible and there is no damage to the deeper parts of the gum, teeth or bone

2. Periodontitis

This is an advanced gum disease that can arise if gingivitis is not treated. When untreated the area of the gum sealing each tooth (gum margin) can weaken. As a result, spaces can form between the teeth and gums called ‘periodontal pockets’. When this occurs, bacteria forms in these pockets. Leading to further inflammation. If untreated this buildup of bacteria can lead to damage and loss of bone as the periodontal pockets increase in size.

So now that we have an understanding of what gum disease is, how exactly do we treat it? Well like any other dental treatment, the priority is to ensure the longevity of your teeth. The dentist or specialist will complete an assessment of your gums and measure the spaces between the tooth and gum. This will determine the overall health of your gums and supporting structures. From here there are a number of treatment options depending on the severity. In some cases this may involve less invasive procedures such as a scale and clean or a prescription of antibiotics. However, in more serious cases dental surgery may be required.

There is also a lot you can do to help prevent all stages of gum disease entirely. This includes:

  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet

  • Brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day

  • Flossing once a day

  • Avoiding smoking and excess alcohol consumption

  • Avoiding sugary foods and drinks

  • Attending regular dental appointments

For further information or to schedule an appointment, contact the clinic on 9809 1533!

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