Gum disease – how does it happen?

gum diseaseGingivitis is the medical term for gum disease, and it literally means inflammation of the gums. You might be suffering from gingivitis if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Red gums
  • Sore gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums

Gingivitis is a common problem, which we see most days here at CK Dental practice in Bristol, and is easily treated. However if it is left undiagnosed it can lead to more serious issues.

What causes gingivitis?

There are a number of potential causes of gum disease. The most common cause is an accumulation of bacterial plaque around the teeth, which irritates the gums, leading to an immune response.

Other causes of gingivitis include smoking, hormone changes such as those experienced during puberty, pregnancy and the menopause, and some other diseases including HIV and cancer.

How can gingivitis be treated?

The best way to treat gingivitis is to visit your dentist, who can remove any plaque build-up using a process called scaling.

This in itself can usually reverse the problem, so long as you continue with a good dental health regime at home, brushing your teeth twice a day and ideally using an interdental brush or dental floss to help avoid further plaque build-up.

How can gum disease be avoided?

Here at CK Dental practice in Bristol, we advise patients that the best way to avoid gum disease is to brush your teeth at least twice a day, using floss or an interdental brush as well where possible.

You should also visit your dentist at least once every six months, so that any plaque build-up can be removed before it causes a problem. Avoiding smoking will also help, as will rinsing out your mouth using an antiseptic mouthwash.