Everyone knows that a house or building needs a strong foundation to support it; a well-built house can still have a weak foundation which could compromise the integrity of the entire structure. Your gums form the foundation for your teeth and keeping them healthy is just as important as having healthy teeth. Gingivitis and Periodontitis are the most common conditions which affect the gums and are often collectively referred to as ‘Gum disease’
Unlike Gingivitis, which is swelling and inflammation of the gums and can usually be reversed by maintaining good oral hygiene, Periodontitis is a destructive, irreversible disease of the gums and bone which hold the teeth in place. Periodontitis causes the bone which anchors the teeth to shrink away and can continue, painlessly, until almost all the bone is gone and the only treatment is to have the affected teeth removed.
Periodontitis can affect anyone although there are some risk factors commonly associated with developing periodontitis, such as smoking and having diabetes. Importantly, there is strong evidence to show that diabetics are more likely to develop periodontitis and that poorly controlled periodontitis can have a negative effect on diabetic management. Periodontitis has even been associated with heart disease and with preterm low birth weight children in females.
Periodontitis cannot be cured, but it can be treated by routinely removing the bacteria under the gums which cause it in a procedure referred to as root planning or debriding. Regular reviews are also essential to monitor the disease progression and prevent future tooth loss.
If you notice that you have bad breath that won’t go away, red or swollen gums, loose teeth, gums which bleed while brushing or receding gums or longer looking teeth you may benefit from having a check-up with your Local dentist which will include an assessment for Gum disease.
Dr Yastira Lalla