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Also referred to as periodontal disease, this is the inflammation of the tissues which support the teeth and attach them to the jaw bone.
There are two main forms of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontal disease.
All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure that you remove all of the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.
If gum disease is not treated, it can lead to gum abscesses and pus oozing from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.
Why can problems develop?
Your dentist should assess your gums at every check up by gently probing around your teeth to check for areas of bleeding or to look for areas where bone is being lost. Additionally, routine x-rays will show the bone levels around your mouth. Your dentist should keep a record of the condition of your gums as they are as important as your teeth.
If the disease is identified early by your dentist, it can be dealt with in the first instance by specific hygiene advice or if required deep cleaning or medications. If you go to the dentist regularly and follow their advice, there is usually no reason why you should suffer from gum disease.
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