What is gum disease?

Gum disease also known as gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums.

If gum disease is not treated, it can develop into periodontal disease (periodontitis), which can weaken the bone supporting the teeth.
Most people are likely to experience a form of gum disease during their life. Around half of adults in the UK have some degree of gum disease.

What causes gum disease?

The main cause of gum disease is plaque – sticky deposits containing bacteria building up on the teeth and grows between the gum line.
If left untreated, the plaque bacteria starts irritating the gums and causes the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw to recede, which in turn makes the teeth loose. A continued period of neglect is likely to result in tooth loss.
To prevent and treat gum disease, you should make sure that you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.

Other risk factors include:

Pregnancy, puberty, menopause and monthly period hormonal changes in women where gums become may become more sensitive with a higher risk of developing gum disease.
Some systemic diseases such as diabetes.
Some medications affect saliva production and make the mouth dry, taking away the protective effects of saliva against gum disease. Some medications also affect gum tissue growth.
Smokers are more likely to have gum disease than non-smokers.
Poor oral hygiene – not brushing correctly – makes it easier for gum disease to develop.
A family history of gum disease can increase a person’s risk.

AVA dental referral clinic provides specialist gum treatment for patients in Barnet, Hertfordshire, London and surrounding areas.