Gum Health

Periodontal disease in its initial stages is completely symptom-less and if left undetected will cause tooth loss. Regular check ups to monitor gum disease are an important part of any dental exam. The gums should be pink, firm and healthy looking. Some of the early warning signs of periodontal breakdown are as follows:

  • Bleeding gums during brushing and flossing.
  • Swollen puffy gums that have separated from the tooth surface.
  • Bad breath.
  • Pus draining between teeth and gums.
  • Spaces between the teeth increasing.

Gum disease is most commonly caused by plaque. Plaque is a sticky white substance made up of food particles and bacteria, which if left undisturbed will irritate the gums causing them to be inflamed. Brushing and flossing twice a day is essential to the overall care and well being of the gums. Regular checkups are important to evaluate the gums for periodontal disease.

The gums encircle the tooth to form a small “moat” around it. This is called a periodontal pocket, and is normally between 2mm – 3mm deep. It is easy to clean a normal pocket using conventional oral aids. However, should the pocket depth increase as a result of gum detachment, due to inflammation or infection, it is difficult to reach the deeper areas and the professional services of our hygienist should be sought.

To assess the depth of the pocketing our hygienist will gently insert a small graduated dental probe between the tooth and the gum to measure the pocket and take a reading. Once the pockets around the teeth are measured, our dental team will be able to formulate a treatment plan depending on the extent of the infection.

Regular flossing and brushing is still the most effective way of controlling periodontal disease and keeping the gums healthy.