Most people who are suffering from gum disease are not really aware of it because the progression of the disease is slow and painless. It all starts with the bacteria forming a yellowish coating called dental plaque on your teeth. If this plaque is not removed properly during brushing, over time it ends up solidifying and forming what is called as calculus or tartar.
To appreciate why time is crucial, it is important to understand the two broad categories of the disease.
- Gingivitis (gum inflammation) refers to inflammation of the gums due to an excess of plaque on the teeth. In this early stage, only the gum tissues are affected and not the underlying support structures and bones. Signs of gingivitis include red, swollen gums, or gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth.
- Periodontitis (gum disease): In this advanced condition, the infection spreads from gums into underlying bone and if left untreated, teeth may become loose, eventually leading to tooth loss. If you have pain when chewing, that could be a sign that your gingivitis has progressed to periodontitis.
The following is a simple 3 step program towards healthy gums that we think you can manage:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2-3 minutes and paying extra attention to the areas where your teeth and gums meet. Ask your dentist to recommend a suitable toothbrush.
- Floss the spaces your brush can’t reach between the teeth and under the gum line. If you do not floss, it means more than one third of your teeth are not getting cleaned.
- Visit your dentist if you notice a change in gum color, metallic taste in your mouth or gums that bleed every time you brush. A good professional dental clean will remove plaque and calculus/tartar before it has a chance to advance to gum disease.