Gum disease is one of the most prevalent health issues in the world. A majority of adults either currently have gum disease, or have had it at some point in their life. It’s usually thought of as a minor problem, but the truth is gum disease can have some pretty serious consequences if not properly treated.
What Is Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection of the soft tissue of the gum. The technical name is gingivitis. Common signs and symptoms include bleeding, redness, and swelling of the gums. These symptoms typically appear after the disease has already taken hold, meaning you’ve had gum disease for some time before noticing.
Left untreated, gingivitis advances to an illness known as Periodontitis. This is when the infection reaches the bone, and starts to deteriorate the jaw itself. Periodontitis can have serious health complications.
Effects of Periodontitis
Patients who suffer from periodontitis are at risk of several health concerns, such as:
- Teeth becoming loose and falling out.
- Teeth becoming infected internally, resulting in either root canal or tooth extraction.
- Deterioration of the jaw bone, resulting in bone loss and lessened ability to bite and chew.
- Bacteria entering the bloodstream and increasing the risk and complication of heart disease and other illnesses.
Periodontitis requires a special treatment known as a “deep clean”. This process removes diseased tissues from pockets that form between the tooth and gum. These pockets are natural, but become enlarged by periodontitis, destabilising the tooth. By using special instruments to remove the infected tissue from these pockets, the gum and jaw can heal again.
Due to the nature of the infection, it’s rarely possible to completely cure periodontitis – there is always a risk of it returning. That’s why patients with periodontitis will need to visit the dentist more regularly for checks and cleans, to keep their mouths healthy.