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Back 31 August 2014

What is Gum Disease?

I get asked “what is gum infection” and “how does gum infection happen all the time…….. Also “why do my gums bleed when I brush them” and why do I need a scale & polish” are other favourite questions. Well, gum disease is a bacterial infection of the tooth supporting structures of your mouth ie your gums, the fibres that attach the tooth to your jaw bone (periodontal ligament) & the bone surrounding your teeth. Gum disease begins with plaque. Plaque is continually forming on your teeth, without you even knowing it. Plaque is a bacterial colony. This plaque formation creates a layer on your teeth called a”Biofilm”. The following film clip gives you an idea of the way gum infection happens.  Wait for the biofilm bit where, using time lapse photography, starting with a clean tooth over an 8 hour period you can see just how quickly plaque forms on a tooth – scary stuff for people who don’t brush their teeth

The longer this plaque biofilm is left, the more “glued” onto your tooth it becomes & the harder it is for you to remove it yourself. Without this Bacterial Biofilm everybody would have healthy gums. This is why keeping your teeth clean with correct tooth brushing - at least twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing daily & the use of interdental brushes & a water pick is critical to maintaining a healthy mouth. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two main stages of gum disease. The end result of untreated periodontitis is the early or premature loss of teeth. After about the age of 18 years more, people loose teeth because of gum infection than because of tooth decay. People usually don’t show signs of gum disease until they are in their 30s or 40s. Gum disease can usually be prevented by good and careful teeth cleaning and regular cleanings or scale and polishes with your dentist or hygienist. Gum disease is a threat to your oral health, & there is now evidence that this bacterial infection is a cause of heart / cardiovascular disease & other systemic problems distant to the mouth. This is caused by these infectious bacteria getting into your blood stream & ”finishing up” causing bacterial infections elsewhere eg in your blood vessels around the heart.

Signs of gum disease
1) Gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth
2) Gums that are red inflamed or tender
3) Persistent case of bad breath
4) Constant bad taste in your mouth
4) Pus appears between gums and teeth
5) Receding gums that make your teeth look longer
6) Deep pockets surrounding gums and teeth
7) A tooth or teeth becoming loose
8) A change in your bite or teeth does not fit together well

The good news is that, if the gum disease is detected on its early stage, it can be treated and reversed. We at Milford Dentists treat gum infection. See Karen our Dental Hygienist to get an idea of how healthy your gums are

Posted by Andrea

Milford Dentists is proud to help the good people of the North Shore with all their dental requirements; especially in our mission to help you iradicate gum infection / periodontitis - From Devonport and Belmont up through Takapuna, Castor Bay,Mairangi Bay & Browns Bay as well as Albany, Northcote, Hillcrest, the Whangaporoa Peninsula and beyond give us a call - 09 4896575.

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