What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a very common disease, affecting 7 out of 10 people. It is the most common dental problem, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a real problem. That’s why it is so important to prevent gum disease before it becomes serious.
Gum disease begins when plaque adheres at and below the visible edge of your gums. If plaque is not removed every day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar (also called calculus). Tartar promotes a bacterial infection at the point of attachment. In these early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis.
At first your gums may be a bit red, but you may not notice anything. As gingivitis gets more serious, tiny pockets of infection form. Your gums may be puffy and may bleed a little when you brush, but it is not painful. Over time, the infection destroys the gum and bone tissue. Eventually, you may be at risk of losing one or more teeth.
Prevention is the most important factor in the fight against gum disease. It is essential to keep your teeth and gums clean. Brush your teeth properly at least twice a day and floss at least once every 24 hours. Using proper brushing and flossing techniques is equally important. Be sure to come in regularly for professional cleaning and dental exams, so that we can detect any early signs of gum disease, and provide appropriate treatment.
If you have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to get better. That’s why in the early stages of gum disease, the best treatment is cleaning by our dentist or dental hygienist to remove built-up tartar, brushing twice a day to remove plaque and flossing once a day to remove plaque.
When gum disease is more serious, we may refer you to a dental specialist called a periodontist. A periodontist has a least three years of extra university training in treating gum disease, and in restoring and arresting bone and gum tissue loss.