Gum Disease 101: Preventing and Treating Oral Health’s Silent Threat

Oral health isn’t just about having straight or white teeth – your gum health is just as important. Think of your gums as the foundations of your teeth. Like houses and buildings, teeth can’t be strong if they’re built on weak foundations. That’s why taking care of our gums is super, super important; otherwise, we’re at an increased risk of gum disease.

In this post, Victorian Dental Group explains gum disease 101, and outlines how we prevent and treat this oral health problem.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a condition which causes damage to the gums and subsequently the teeth that they house. It can cause damage to the bone structures that hold teeth, causing them to become loose and painful, and possibly requiring them to be removed if left untreated.

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is primarily caused by plaque build-up on teeth and along the gum line. Plaque contains bacteria which your immune system tries to fight with an inflammation response, leading to redness and swelling of the gum.

Stages of gum disease

There are two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is early gum disease which affects the surface layers of the gum and is characterised by bleeding gums, especially when brushing, and redness or swelling of the gum. Periodontitis is advanced gum disease which affects the cementum (covering of the tooth root), the bone and the fibres that connect to the tooth root.

How to prevent gum disease

The best ways to prevent gum disease is to follow typical professional dental advice on oral hygiene and diet. This includes:

  • Diligent brushing along the gum, twice a day
  • Using a small-headed, soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Using floss or interdental brushes daily
  • Cleaning dentures every day
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding sugary foods and replacing with fresh fruit and veg and dairy products
  • Drinking fluoridated water

How we treat gum disease

Treatment of gum disease may be done by a dental hygienist, dentist or periodontist. Treatment methods for early gum disease include:

  • Education on oral hygiene
  • Scaling, removing tartar and plaque from your gum line
  • Root planing, smoothing the root surfaces to prevent further build-up of bacteria while helping the gum reattach to your tooth

Advanced gum disease may be treated by:

  • Pocket reduction surgery, exposing the tooth roots for easier scaling and cleaning
  • Soft tissue grafts, reinforcing damage gum tissue
  • Bone grafting

If you’re concerned about gum disease, it’s best to make an appointment with the team at Victorian Dental Group. Our Experienced team of dentists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating gum disease, quickly and effectively helping to stop the condition from becoming worse. As one of Melbourne’s leading dental clinic, we have a strong focus on meticulous dental work and patient care. Contact our Malvern clinic to make an appointment today.