What is Gum Disease & How do I Know if I Have it?

Periodontal (gum) disease is the chronic inflammatory condition of the gum and jawbones.

In Australia, almost 20% of Australian adults aged 35-54 experience periodontal disease and the rate increases with age to almost 40% of adults aged 55 and over. 

This chronic inflammatory condition is caused by the presence of plaque, a thick and sticky film of bacteria that builds up on the teeth. Soft plaque can be removed easily with effective tooth brushing and regular flossing, but plaque that gets left behind can calcify into a hard form of plaque known as calculus or tartar.  This form of plaque can no longer be removed at home and therefore regular professional cleaning is important to maintain healthy gums.

Along with the presence of plaque, there are many risk factors that make someone more prone to developing periodontal disease, however, among the most common are an individual’s genetics, smoking and diabetes.

Periodontal disease can often go unnoticed as it if usually painless, but can be characterised by red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums.  Gums can shrink away from the teeth and teeth can become loose or drift apart causing gaps between teeth.  The infection of the gum and jawbones can also result in a persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth. 

So, if its painless, how do I know if I have it?

Here at Aim Dental group, at each Active maintenance appointment, our trained Oral Health Therapist will be assessing your gum health for any signs of gum disease.  This involves a visual assessment of plaque levels, gum colour, bleeding as well as taking measurement around the tooth and gum for any signs of “pockets”.  Pockets are spaces that develop between the tooth and gum that fill up with harmful bacteria that continues the progression of gum disease.   If any of these signs are noticed during your Active maintenance appointment, our Oral Health Therapist will advise you of their findings and assist you with making the best plan for professional care and home care to help manage your condition.  In most cases, this will involve regular 3 monthly professional visits until the gum disease is under control.  

Besides having a better chance of keeping your teeth for life and having a mouth that feels and looks healthier, the treatment of gum disease is also important for maintaining your general health.   It has been well established through research, that poor gum health is linked to a number for chronic systemic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, low birth weight, and Alzheimer’s.

At Aim Dental group, we understand that embarrassment over bleeding gums or bad breath may keep you from visiting us, but the longer you stay away the worse your teeth and gums can become.  If you are concerned about any of the above problems, please discuss this with our dental professionals who will be more than happy to arm you with all the knowledge to make a change. 

Book your next active maintenance appointment today by calling us on 1300 AIM DENTAL or via our website.