Umhlanga Dental
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• Understanding Gum Disease
There are two main types of gum disease:
1. Gingivitis

When brushing and flossing techniques are not carried out effectively, this allows plaque, a soft sticky substance made up of harmful bacteria to build up along the gum line. The bacteria in it can result in the infection and inflammation of your gums; they will look red and puffy. This condition is known as gingivitis and nearly all adults suffer from this to some degree. Bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth is one of the earliest signs of gingivitis. Plaque left for any length of time will start to harden and form calculus or “tartar” on your teeth. This cannot be removed by tooth brushing alone, and requires specialist scaling by your hygienist or dentist.
At this early stage gum disease is reversible. Regular visits to the hygienist will help you return to and maintain gingival health.

2. Periodontitis
Left untreated, gingivitis may progress to a more severe condition known as periodontitis. This is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. Here the bacterial infection progresses to the deeper supporting tissues of the teeth known as the periodontal tissue which includes the bone. As the disease progresses, this bone supporting the teeth is lost. The teeth become loosened, abscesses can form and teeth may eventually be lost.
Symptons to watch out for are:
1. Gums that have come away from the teeth
2. Pus between the teeth and gums
3. Persistent bad breath or bad taste;
4. Permanent teeth that are loose or changing position

For more information on Gum Disease, read here.