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Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and is preventable. Regular visits to the dentist will help identify the signs of gum disease. A large part of treating the affects of gum disease is dependent on the patient's own oral hygiene. The most common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to build up. Plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on teeth surfaces especially near the gum level and root surfaces. Plaque requires daily removal because it reforms quickly (usually within 24hours).
Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease. This is the inflammation of the gums caused by the presence of plaque. The gums may look red, puffy or swollen. The gums may recede and occasionally feel tender and bleed when brushing or flossing.
Periodontitis is the more advance form of gum disease that not only effects gum tissue but also the bone underneath your gums. Unlike gingivitis the effects of periodontitis are irreversible. Plaque bacteria that builds up in gum pockets between the gum and teeth causes the loss of bone. If this process continues, the teeth become loose. Symptoms include red, swollen and inflamed gums, receding gums, loose teeth, bad breath or an unpleasant taste in mouth.
Risk factors for gum disease:
Regular visits to the dentist and hygienist for oral hygiene advice and scaling will help reduce plaque build up and prevent gum disease.
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