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Gum Disease

This is a very common dental condition which effects  practically everyone at sometime in their lives.It is mainly caused by build up of plaque on the teeth which leads to red  , swollen gums which bleed when brushed.

There are two types of gum disease : Gingivitis  and  Periodontitis


This is a condition caused by a bacterial infection  within a tooth or the mouth which affects the gums causing an inflammation and in some cases  receding gums.This is often caused by the presence of plaque –a sticky , bacterial substance found on the surface  of the teeth which is not removed  targets the gums.These bacteria are responsible for  the red , inflamed appearance of the  gums  which often bleed when  brushed with a toothbrush.


Tooth decay  appears to be the main  culprit but there are a few other causes which include  poor dental hygiene  , routine medical conditions  such as diabetes ; a poorly  functioning  immune  system  and  smoking .Other factors include genetics , hormonal changes  such as pregnancy or the menopause,stres and the side  effects of certain medications.All of these  increase the number of bacteria  in the mouth  which are a known  cause of infections such as this.


  • What happens is that the bacteria produce toxins which attack the tissue and bone of a tooth which causes them to die.This  loss then results in a loosening  of the tooth and in some cases causes the tooth to fall out.
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen (inflamed) gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums which bleed when brushed
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Highly sensitive teeth to hot and cold liquids
  • Receding gums
  • Abscesses
  • These symptoms characteristically  appear in cases  of gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Also there is a condition called ANUG ( Acute  Necrotising  Ulcerative Gingivitis) which has symptoms are far  worse  than those for gingivitis and periodontitis.These are extremely unpleasant and include  a fever , painful gums,difficulty in swallowing , swollen glands in the neck and an overall feeling of being unwell.


Prevention is better than cure and certainly applies in this case.Following  a good oral hygiene  routine  such as brushing  your teeth at least twice a day using dental floss and having regular check ups  can help.But if you have developed gum disease  then any treatment  is likely to be easier  if it is caught at an early stage.This will be a scale and polish , antibiotics  to ease any infection and which removes bacteria  from within  an infected tooth.Surgery is another option  but is only carried out in severe cases.