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Gum disease – dentist discuss warning signs

Gum disease and the warning signs
London Dentist Dr Gino Castro discusses warning signs and symptoms of gum disease. If you are concerned about gum disease Gino is available to see you in canary Wharf and Soho

If you have any questions, contact Gino.

Dr Gino Castro

Worried about bleeding gums and infection?

What is gum disease? Gum disease is when the gums bleed, become swollen and sore or are infected. It’s a very common condition and it is estimated that half the adult population has some degree of gum disease. Most people experience it at least once in their lives.

Gum disease is a serious condition because, if left untreated, it can develop into its more severe form, periodontitis. It affects the tissue that supports teeth and hold them in place. If periodontitis is not treated, the bone in your jaw can decay and small spaces can open up between the gums and teeth. Teeth then can become loose and may eventually fall out.

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The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis are red and swollen gums that usually bleed after brushing or flossing your teeth. If it develops into periodontitis, you may also experience symptoms such as a bad taste in your mouth, loose teeth (which can make eating difficult) and gum abscesses (collections of pus under your gums).

Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains harmful bacteria. If you do not remove plaque from your teeth by brushing and flossing them, it will build up and irritate your gums, leading to inflammation and soreness. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gum disease. You are more at risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis if you smoke, have diabetes or have a weakened immune system (for example, due to conditions such as HIV, or certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy).

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Mild cases of gum disease can usually be treated or ‘reversed’ by maintaining a good level of oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth using an effective technique at least twice a day and flossing daily. If necessary, your dentist will be able to give your teeth a thorough clean and remove any hardened plaque (tartar). They will also be able to show you how to clean your teeth effectively to help prevent plaque building up in the future. If you have developed periodontitis, your dentist may need to refer you to see a specialist in Periodontics to treat the condition.

Healthy gums should be pink, firm and keep your teeth securely in place. Your gums should not bleed when you touch or brush them. Gum disease is not always painful and you may not be aware that you have it. This is why it is important to have regular dental check-ups. You should make an appointment to see your dentist if your gums are painful, inflamed or if they bleed when you brush your teeth.

Signs of gum disease to be aware of:

  • Bleeding gums when brushing
  • Blood in your saliva
  • Inflamed, red, or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Wobbly or loose teeth
  • Abscessed teeth

If you are experiencing bleeding gums and need an emergency appointment click here to see the next available slots in our diary.  

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