What is Gum Health?
Gum disease affects most people at some time during their life. It is usually caused by a build-up of plaque on teeth. One of the common signs of gum disease is bleeding gums. Careful and regular cleaning of your teeth and gums each day can help prevent gum disease.
Getting treatment for dental problems early can help save teeth that are at risk from gum disease and other conditions. See your dentist or oral health professional if you have swollen or bleeding gums or loose teeth.
There are two main stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis is early gum disease and occurs when dental plaque builds up on teeth, particularly where the gum joins the tooth. The signs of gingivitis are bleeding, redness and swelling of the gum.
Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease that may occur if gingivitis is not treated. The gum margin, – the part of the gum that seals to the tooth, – is weakened and spaces form between the tooth and the gum. These spaces are called ‘periodontal pockets.’ Bacteria and their products become trapped in these pockets causing further inflammation (redness and swelling).
The structures affected by periodontitis include the covering of the tooth root (cementum), the bone and the fibres that connect the cementum to the bone (periodontal ligament). As the disease progresses and bone is lost, larger spaces begin to form between the tooth and the gum. Signs of periodontitis include bleeding, swelling and receding gums together with bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth and loose teeth.