Gum disease is a common condition affecting the tissues around your teeth. It causes swelling, redness of the gums, and sometimes pain, and avoiding treatment can lead to gum recession and even tooth loss.
Most of adults in the world have some gum disease, even if only a small amount. Gum disease, however, can be prevented by maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, including regular brushing, check-ups with your dentist, and hygienist appointments.
Find out more about the main types of gum disease, treatments for gum disease and symptoms to look out for.
There are three main types of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis and acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). Gingivitis is an inflammation of the tissues that surround your teeth. If gingivitis isn’t treated it can lead to other type of gum disease called periodontitis, which can affect the bones and ligaments that support your teeth. ANUG is a serious type of gum disease that develops suddenly.
Gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque, a soft, sticky substance caused by bacteria. If you don’t clean the plaque off your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, it can cause your gums to become inflamed. Your gums may bleed when you brush them but aren’t usually painful.
If you remove the plaque and look after your teeth and gums well, your gingivitis is likely to get better. But if you don’t get the plaque off properly, you may develop a more serious type of gum disease called periodontitis.
The symptoms of gingivitis are:
If you have symptoms of gingivitis, you may be able to resolve this at home with brushing and flossing techniques. Or you can see a hygienist for a professional dental clean. This will involve removing any traces of tartar, plaque, or bacterial products.
If your gingivitis isn’t treated, the inflammation may spread to the ligaments and bones that hold your teeth in place. This is a type of gum disease called periodontitis. Your gums may begin to pull away from your teeth, leaving pockets. These pockets trap plaque that you may not be able to reach with a toothbrush.
Over time, the plaque hardens to become tartar. This may irritate your gums even more by collecting more plaque. The pockets may then get deeper and even more difficult to clean, making the problem worse. Sometimes you may develop an infection in your gums. Pus may collect under your gums, causing an abscess.
Untreated periodontitis can cause your gums to shrink back from your teeth (called recession). This may then expose some of the roots of your teeth, making them sensitive. If you have any bone loss, your teeth may feel loose. If your periodontitis isn’t treated for a number of years, you may even lose some teeth.
If your gingivitis has developed into periodontitis, you may experience the following symptoms:
If you have any of these symptoms, we recommend you to visit us.
ANUG is a serious type of gum disease that develops suddenly. It is a bacterial infection that causes swelling, ulcers, bad breath (halitosis) and pain. ANUG must be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.
The symptoms of ANUG include
The type of treatment you will have will depend on how serious your gum disease is. The aim of treatment is to control any existing gum disease and prevent further problems.
If your dentist thinks you have periodontitis:
Frequently Asked Questions
Explore preventative measures for gum disease, emphasizing the importance of daily brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups, and how these practices contribute to overall gum health.
Detail the symptoms of gingivitis, including bleeding gums and bad breath, and provide guidance on whether home care or professional intervention is recommended for treating mild gum disease.
Discuss the symptoms of periodontitis, such as gum recession and sensitivity, and highlight the potential risks and consequences if periodontitis is not addressed promptly.
Differentiate between gingivitis and ANUG, explaining the sudden onset and severe symptoms of ANUG, and advise on when urgent dental care is necessary for this serious gum disease.
Provide an overview of the treatment options for gum disease, from daily oral care routines to root planning and potential gum surgery, while addressing how the severity of the condition influences the recommended approach.
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