What is gum disease?

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Gum disease is one of the most commonly suffered mouth problems in the country and is one of the main causes of tooth loss. Individuals can go to a dentist Meath to have their gum disease examined and treated. There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gum disease usually occurs when there is a building up of plaque on and between the teeth. This can happen if patients do not maintain good oral hygiene, but also other factors such as lifestyle choices can cause it. In Ireland between 80% and 85% of the population suffer from gum disease in their lifetime. Common symptoms of gum disease are sore, red, bleeding gums and bad breath. Visiting a dentist and seeing the hygienist will help to treat gum disease, as they can thoroughly clean the teeth and remove the plaque.

Different types of gum disease

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Gingivitis, also known as gum inflammation, is the milder form of gum disease. Gingivitis is a progressive disease. At the early stages the plaque will slowly start building up, causing the teeth to discolour and a yellowish debris to form on the teeth. This can lead to the gums feeling sore and swollen and they will most likely bleed during brushing. It is important to visit the dentist at this stage to avoid the disease developing into periodontitis which is a much more serious issue.

Periodontitis is what happens when gingivitis is left untreated and is ignored by patients. Individuals that have periodontitis will notice that their gums and bone start pulling away from their teeth and creating little holes like pockets. The bacteria from food and continued gum disease then deposit themselves in these pockets, causing the gums to get infected. The bleeding will worsen and progressively the pockets will deepen, and it is imperative at this stage for individuals to visit the dentist, as this can lead to damage to the bone structure and potentially cause the teeth to start falling out. The dentist may need to prescribe oral antibiotics to treat the infection and will advise on maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, using mouthwash and caring for the teeth. Other treatments, both surgical and non-surgical, may be required depending on the severity of the gum disease. This will be assessed on an individual, case-by-case basis depending on the patient’s situation.

Preventing gum disease

Patients can prevent gum disease by ensuring that they visit their dentist for a professional clean at least twice a year and brushing and flossing their teeth twice a day. It is also important to maintain a good, healthy diet. Too many fatty and sugary foods will lead to plaque and bacteria building up which will cause gum disease. Investing in an electric toothbrush is also recommended, as this ensures that the teeth are properly cleaned in comparison to a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are longer lasting than manual toothbrushes and therefore more financially viable in the long-run and help to prevent bacteria accruing. In addition, patients should use anti-bacterial mouthwash after brushing to ensure that all bacteria is removed from the teeth and mouth.


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