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Periodontal disease, another name for gum disease is caused by bacteria that collects at the gum line as dental plaque.

The plaque needs to be removed by brushing and cleaning between the teeth twice a day. If not properly cleaned, the gum starts to come away from the tooth, forming pockets and the plaque grows down below the gum line.

Over time, the bone that supports the teeth is destroyed, the gums shrink and eventually the teeth become wobbly and fall out.

Who can get gum disease?

Most people can get mild gum disease but some people are susceptible to more aggressive forms. Severe gum disease, especially if you have it at a young age, can run in families.

There are a few factors that put people at higher risk of getting severe gum disease.

· Diabetes (especially if poorly controlled)

· Smoking (possibly including e-cigarettes)

· Stress

· A poor diet lacking in vitamins and minerals

· Obesity

· Certain medications.

Gum Diseases have been shown to aggravate certain systemic conditions like

· Diabetes

· Heart diseases

· Adverse pregnancy outcomes

· Respiratory diseases

Do you have periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is usually pain-free and so you may be unaware of it until your gum specialist/dentist checks for it.

Here are some ‘red flags’ - symptoms you may notice that should raise concerns:

· Bleeding gums when brushing or even whilst eating

· Red, swollen gums

· Bad breath

· Spaces appearing between teeth

· Loose teeth or teeth moving position in the mouth

· Receding gums

· Sensitivity to cold or hot foods and drinks

What does treatment involve?

· Professional cleaning of the tartar and dental plaque present on tooth surface and gums.

· You will be taught the best methods of cleaning your teeth and gums using small headed toothbrush, interdental brushes or floss if the gaps between teeth are too tight for brushes.

· Treatment will only work if you clean your teeth properly, twice a day, to a high standard.

· Mouthwashes may help with very mild gum disease but they are adjuvants to the treatment.

· Any bacteria below the gum line can be removed by your gum disease specialist/dentist with deep cleaning which may preferably require an injection.

· If the severity of gum disease is not subsided even after the treatment then it is indicated for gum surgery.

What are the benefits of treatment?

Your gums will be healthier and you may notice such benefits as :

· Greater confidence of a fresher mouth

· Gums not being sore or bleeding when you brush

· Teeth becoming less wobbly

· Less discomfort when you eat

· Ultimately, you will keep your teeth for longer

What can you expect after treatment ?

· As they become healthier your gums may shrink. Spaces may appear between the teeth and they may appear longer

· As gums shrink, your teeth may become more sensitive to hot, cold or sweet things. Usually this gets better in a few weeks. Few patients might need to use a sensitivity toothpaste or have other treatment to help with this.

· In case of tooth extractions due to gum disease, you may wish to have replacements for any lost teeth by means of a denture, bridge or an implant.

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