Gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss worldwide. It is caused by bacteria and plaque above and below the gum line which, if not fully removed, can enter the bloodstream and also cause gums to become inflamed. Left untreated it can eventually damage the bone and ligaments that support the teeth.
More than this, over the last few years an increasing number of studies have found the effects of gum disease can reach far beyond the mouth, with researchers linking gum infections to a range of serious conditions including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, respiratory disease and premature births. This makes early diagnosis and treatment more important than ever.
The majority of adults have some form of gum disease but many are unaware they have a problem as the symptoms are not immediately obvious. The good news is, early detection can help reverse some of the effects of gum disease and reduce the associated health risks.
What causes gum disease?
Plaque build-up: Plaque contains harmful bacteria which attacks the body. When plaque is not removed properly, above and below the gum line, bacteria will spread and the plaque turns into calculus (tartar).
Smoking: Whilst the health risks associated with smoking are well documented, not many people realise it is also one of the most significant contributors to gum disease. Smoking increases the levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth and reduces blood flow to the gums.
Medication: Bacteria will spread more quickly in a dry mouth. Some medicines can reduce saliva production leaving the mouth more vulnerable, others reduce the bodies defences against gum disease.
How is it prevented?
The most effective way to treat and prevent gum disease is through a good oral hygiene routine backed up by regular visits to a dental hygienist. If you experience any swelling to the gums, bleeding during brushing or flossing, or an unusual taste in your mouth please make an appointment. By treating your mouth we can help improve your overall health.
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