Gum disease develops in stages and in its earliest stage, gingivitis, it is possible to treat the disease. However, if it is allowed to progress to periodontitis, the effects cannot be reversed. Let’s take a closer look at how to get rid of gum disease and stop it from progressing to periodontitis.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gingivitis usually develops as a result of plaque build-up on the teeth at the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that causes an inflammatory response in the gums. This inflammatory response is what causes redness and swelling in the gums.
Other risk factors that may influence whether you develop periodontal disease include
- High-stress levels
- Taking drugs
- Unmanaged diabetes
- Hormonal changes caused by puberty or pregnancy
- Poor nutrition or generally poor health
Gingivitis begins with an infection of the gums around the teeth. In its earliest form, gum disease does not affect the tooth structures, the bone and teeth. It is relatively common with three in ten Australians suffering from moderate to severe periodontal disease.
You may notice bleeding or swelling when you brush your teeth if you have gingivitis however it’s important that you continue to brush with a soft brush, even if you notice discomfort. This can help to dislodge plaque and bacteria build-up. You should discuss any sore, red or bleeding gums with your dentist if the problem persists.
How Does Periodontal Disease Develop?
Periodontitis may develop if your gingivitis is not treated. Periodontitis affects the gum that connects to the tooth, weakening it and causing spaces to develop between the tooth and gum. These spaces or periodontal pockets create a bigger space that bacteria can become trapped in, leading to a wider infection and more swelling. If left untreated it can cause the bone that supports the teeth to be eroded, and your teeth can fall out.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Periodontal Disease?
- Bleeding gums when brushing teeth
- Red and swollen gums
- A persistent bad taste or bad breath
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
How To Get Rid Of Gum Disease?
Gingivitis can be treated and reversed, so it’s important to discuss any signs and symptoms with your dentist as soon as possible. Going for dental check ups twice a year can help your dentist to spot the early warning signs of gum disease before it progresses.
Brushing and flossing twice a day is your best defence against plaque, but only your dentist can remove calculus build-up from your teeth. If you have the early signs of periodontal disease, your dental hygiene may need to be reviewed by your dentist.
Root Scaling And Planing
It is possible to manage periodontitis, even though it can’t be cured. Your dentist will use a combination of root scaling and planing, which requires deep removal of plaque and tartar build-up below your gum line. Using special instrumentation which goes deeper than your dental floss can reach, your dentist can remove the infected material and then smooth out the roots of your teeth so they are less likely to become reinfected.
In very advanced cases of periodontitis, surgical interventions may be necessary:
Pocket Depth Reduction
Surgery may be required to make your gums fit more snugly around your teeth, and prevent periodontal pockets from attracting more bacteria
If periodontal disease has eroded your jaw bone, bone grafting may be necessary to stimulate the growth of new bone.
In the event that gum disease has lost your teeth, you may need to consider teeth replacement options such as dental implants, an implant-support bridge or dentures.
If your gums have receded and exposed your tooth roots, surgery may be necessary to cover them up again.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself Against Gum Disease?
The best method of how to get rid of gum disease is not to allow it to develop in the first place. That means
- Brushing and flossing twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste
- Quitting smoking
- Managing your diabetes by keeping your blood sugar levels under control
- Reducing your sugar intake, especially snacking between meals
- Drinking lots of water
Any early warning signs of gingivitis should be reported to your dentist. An x-ray would demonstrate if you have plaque build-up below your gum line.
If you need further help on how to get rid of gum disease it’s time to make an appointment. Please give us a call: (03) 8737 9359.