Periodontitis (also known as Gum Disease) is a serious disease that, according to the British Society of Periodontology, affects around 10% of the population. Apart from the obvious pain and distress it can cause to patients, it is also increasingly being linked to systemic conditions including heart disease, premature birth and diabetes.
Long-standing inflammation of the gums (also known as ‘gingivitis’) can turn into Gum Disease. Gingivitis is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning. There are a number of types of Gum Disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.
Gum Disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and cleaning in between the teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes or floss, as well as by regularly visiting your dentist and hygienist.
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