Periodontal (Gum) disease is the number one cause of tooth loss amongst adults.
More than 60% of adults in the UK over the age of 40 have some level of gum disease. It is caused by bacterial plaque and their toxins in the mouth damaging and destroying the ligaments that hold the tooth in place. It is a slow progressive disease which goes undetected as it usually does not cause any pain. As the disease progresses the bone support around the tooth is slowly lost and eventually the tooth becomes so mobile that it has to be removed.
Gum disease is an entirely preventable condition for the majority of patients if they maintain high levels of oral hygiene.
Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy gums DON’T BLEED. Essential oral hygiene habits of effective tooth brushing and flossing will prevent gum disease.
If tooth brushing is not effective the plaque hardens on the base of the tooth near the gum line. This hard substance is called calculus. This hard porous material is teeming with bacteria which continue to produce toxins by digesting food residue left on the tooth due to ineffective brushing. This leads to the destruction of the tooth supporting architecture as described above.
The calculus can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist using special tools.
Gum disease unfortunately is not curable, but it is treatable, and in most cases, controllable.
Factors affecting Gum disease
Oral Health Neglect:
Avoiding the dentist is a lifestyle choice that puts you at risk of contracting diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums.
Numerous studies have shown that smoking dramatically increases the risk of gum disease. Smokers have increased levels of calculus in their mouth and experience more tissue irritation from the cigarette smoke. Toxins from the tobacco affect the immune system from working normally thus leading to destruction of the gum tissue surrounding the tooth.
Diabetes and other Immuno-Suppressive Conditions:
Diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease, especially if their condition is uncontrolled or undiagnosed. This group of people are more likely to suffer gum disease, again due to a compromised immune system.
When our immune system is stressed it is difficult to fight off the bacteria that cause gum infections.