Periodental or gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss in the adult population worldwide. Its detection (diagnosis), treatment and control is the single most important factor underpinning all aspects of successful dentistry.What is periodontal(gum) disease?
Periodontal disease affects the gums and bone supporting your teeth. It is caused by excessive bacteria and their by products called plaque accumulating around then necks of the teeth at the gumline. If allowed to remain for too long, as happens when teeth are not properly cleaned, the minerals in the saliva it to harden causing a scale called calculus or tartar. Gum disease has two stages:

  1. It starts with inflammation-redness and swelling of the gums which may feel spongy and swollen and usually painless in the chronic phase but then fairly painful in its acute form. We call this stage gingivitis and the good news is that it can be cured by good oral hygiene and simple professional hygiene therapy.

  1. When gingivitis remains untreated it gradually progresses to next phase – periodontitis causing destruction of the very bone support of the teeth and resulting in gum recession, teeth becoming loose and ultimately loss of tooth.

Who gets gum disease?Gum disease can start when you are a child. Chronic preiodontitis is normally only a problem for adults. You might be worried about bad breath or your teeth getting longer as the gum covers less of them.Some people are more likely to have periodontal disease than others:

  1. Crooked teeth are more difficult to keep clean so one might have gum disease in just one part of your mouth.

  2. People have different bacteria in their mouths. This may explain why gum disease can get worse very quickly for some people but not for others

  3. Smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol can make gum disease worse. Both are also linked with mouth cancer.

  4. Drugs and medicines can affect your gums so we will ask you about your general health.

  5. Diabetes and other diseases can reduce how resistant gums and bones are to damage.

  6. Hormonal changes also affect gum health. It could make a difference if you are pregnant or using l contraceptive pill.

Gum Treatment. At the Lighthouse Dental Practice I work with my hygienist ( Nicky) to halt, stabilise and where possible reverse the effects of periodontal disease. All our clients who present with any aspects of this condition undergoes a tailored course of therapy involving thorough removal of the plaque/calculus and individualised instruction in home oral hygiene maintenance techniques.In treating gum disease we take into account all factors to include our clients familial history, medical history, lifestyle(smoking) the effects of stress, diet and dental factors such poor margins of restorations that encourage plaque retention.We may recommend the use of topical antibiotics, antiseptic,herbal and homoepathic preparations where appropriate and in certain instances gum surgery may be necessary to make an area easy to maintain at home. Why should I try to avoid periodontal problems?

  1. However healthy and strong you teeth are, they need to be supported  by healthy gums and bone. Periodontal disease can lead to you losing teeth and all the difficulties that this can cause for eating , speaking and a prematurely aged appearance if many teeth are lost.

Scientists are now discovering that periodontal disease is linked to coronary heart disease and stroke, especially for who already at risk in other ways through poor diet, smoking or high blood pressure.