Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is an infection of the tissue supporting the teeth and is caused by a build-up of plaque. There are two main forms of gum disease; gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums1, whereby gums become red and swollen in the early stages of gum disease, and long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which can result in receding gums, tooth loss, and damage to the bone in the jaw2.
The following post aims to make you aware of the early signs of gum disease, as well as providing you with information on how best to prevent it from getting worse at an early stage. If it is not diagnosed early enough, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis which, if not treated, can destroy the bone that supports your teeth3 and lead to teeth falling out or becoming loose.
Gum disease is largely preventable and extremely common. Usually, it is the result of poor oral hygiene3, meaning it is important to make sure that you brush and clean your teeth using fluoridated toothpaste and floss twice daily to remove all the plaque from your teeth.
If you begin to notice any of the symptoms listed below, make sure to book a check-up with your dentist as soon as possible, where they will help to remove the build-up of plaque on your teeth that is causing the early stages of sum disease.
Symptoms of gingivitis can include:
- Sore gums
- Swollen or red gums
- Signs of bleeding after brushing teeth, flossing, or eating hard foods such as apples
Signs of periodontitis can include the signs of gingivitis, as well as:
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Abscessed developing under the gums
- Loose teeth
The sooner you spot the signs of the early stages of gum disease, the less it will impact your oral health and the better your chances of reversing the damage3 done to your gums and teeth.
Aside from maintaining good oral hygiene by removing all the plaque from your teeth each day, there are other things that can increase your chance of developing gum disease.
People who smoke are more likely to develop gum disease, as not only can smoking mask the signs, but it also weakens your body’s ability to fight off infection4. This also means that once your gums are damaged, it is more difficult for them to heal.
Other factors that may increase your susceptibility to gum disease include your age; gum disease is much more common in adults and the elderly. People with diabetes and pregnant women should also pay special attention to their dental hygiene, as hormonal changes and blood sugar levels can make gums more vulnerable to plaque5.
If you are experiencing any of the signs of gingivitis or periodontitis, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. If you have been seeing your dentist regularly and they have failed to diagnose periodontitis over a long period of time, resulting in pain, suffering or significant stress, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. Contact the Dental Law Partnership for advice and a free initial claim assessment.