What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease affects the supporting tissues, such as gums and bone and is caused by the bacteria in your mouth. Healthy gum tissue will have a shallow pocket of 1-3mm around each tooth, while gums affected by periodontal disease will have greater pockets. Other signs of gum disease are red/purple gums, progressively loose teeth and excessive migration of teeth.
If bacteria is allowed to accumulate below the gum line for extended periods of time, it hardens on the roots of the tooth structure and creates an inflammatory response that signals your body to destroy the bone and ligaments supporting your teeth.
Why does this happen to me?
Inadequate brushing and flossing, smoking, diabetes and genetics can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease.
What is the treatment for periodontal disease and can the affects be reversed?
Treatment for periodontal disease involves identification of the disease, determining the severity, discussing with your dentist ideal oral hygiene practices (such as correct brushing techniques & management of a dry mouth) and cleaning of the hardened plaque and bacteria along the root surfaces.
Unfortunately the gums will not grow back; in fact they may recede slightly after treatment. The main purpose of treatment is to prevent further gum swelling and loss.
How can I minimise the risk of developing gum disease?
It is essential that you maintain good oral hygiene and receive regular preventative care from your dentist.