What is the aim of gum disease?
Gum disease refers to a series of problems that occur in the gap between the gum and the tooth. It begins through bacteria, mucus and other particles forming a sticky colourless film on your teeth, which is known as ‘plaque’.
If plaque is not effectively removed through proper daily brushing and flossing, it can harden to form a tartar (or ‘calculus’). Plaque can start turning into tartar after just 26 hours. The problem with tartar is that it can’t be removed through normal brushing. In fact, the presence of tartar makes it harder to brush and floss effectively. As a result, it becomes easier for the acids released by the bacteria in your mouth to begin breaking down the tooth enamel.
However, the most important factor in the ultimate effects of gum disease is the persistent response of your body’s immune system to bacterial plaque. Because the body has been designed to fight infection, it releases chemicals to break down the bacteria. However these chemicals, together with other substances that are released by the bacteria, can ultimately damage the bone and as well as the tissues that keep your teeth in place.
The mildest form of gum disease is known as ‘gingivitis’. The symptoms of this include swollen and inflamed gums, occasional bleeding when brushing your teeth, and some noticeable odours. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more serious form of gum disease call ‘periodontists’, where pockets begin to form between the tooth and the gums. When these pockets are infected by bacteria, the gums may begin to recede, which can result in the teeth becoming loose, falling out or needing to be extracted.
Gum disease often commences in areas of the mouth that are hard to clean, such as your back teeth, along the gum lines, and around fillings or where there’s been other dental work.