Maintaining healthy gums is part of your overall oral hygiene preventative care: check-ups by regular dental visits (six monthly) and good daily oral hygiene.
Gum disease begins with inflammation of the gums often associated with bleeding gums while brushing. Plaque that harbour bacteria can get in under the gum line of your tooth and can start weakening and softening your gums, leading to inflammation, swelling and bleeding. This is known as gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. If left untreated, it can develop into an advanced stage called periodontitis.
Most adult gum disease (periodontal disease) is not painful and often no signs or symptoms are felt until the disease has progressed, usually over a period of years, to an advanced stage. The gum recedes down the tooth and finally the bone supporting the tooth is lost. Infection can develop in the gum and the tooth may need to be extracted. Careful monitoring and assessment is important if you have a family history of gum disease.
Regular examination of the gums by a dental professional to identify gum disease at an early stage is important. Your dental professional will be able to offer advice on correct brushing and flossing techniques as well as the use of other types of interdental brushes where appropriate.
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