Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Introduction FeedbackA general introduction to Gingivitis and Periodontitis.Source: NHS Choices, 15 Jan 2014
Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected.
It's estimated to affect more than half of all adults in the UK to some degree and most people experience it at least once. It is much less common in children.
If you have gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and you may have bad breath. This stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis.
If gingivitis is not treated, a condition called periodontitis can develop. This affects the tissues that support teeth and hold them in place. In the UK, up to 15% of adults are estimated to have severe periodontitis, with many more affected less severely.
If periodontitis is not treated, the bone in your jaw can decay and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth. Your teeth can become loose and may eventually fall out.
Read more about the symptoms of gum disease.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria, which forms when you eat and drink.
Some bacteria in plaque are harmless, but some are very harmful for the health of your gums. If you do not remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them, it will build up and irritate your gums, leading to redness, swelling and soreness.
Read more about the causes of gum disease.
Seeing your dentist
You should make an appointment to see your dentist if your gums are painful, swollen or if they bleed when you brush your teeth. Find a dentist near you.
Your dentist can carry out a thorough dental examination to check the health of your gums, which may involve inserting a thin metal stick with a bend in one end (periodontal probe) beside your teeth.
In some cases, a number of X-rays may be needed to check the condition of your teeth and jaw bone.
Preventing and treating gum disease
Mild cases of gum disease can usually be treated by maintaining a good level of oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly. You should also make sure you attend regular dental check-ups.
In most cases, your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to give your teeth a thorough clean and remove any hardened plaque (tartar). They will also be able to show you how to clean your teeth effectively to help prevent plaque building up in the future.
If you have severe gum disease, you will usually need to have further medical and dental treatment and, in some cases, surgery may need to be carried out. This will usually be performed by a specialist in gum problems (periodontics).
Read more about treating gum disease and keeping your teeth clean.
It is important to have regular dental check-ups so that any problems with your teeth and gums can be detected and treated early.
If you have never had gum disease and have good oral health, you may only need to visit your dentist every one to two years for a check-up.
You may need to visit your dentist more frequently if you have had problems with gum disease in the past. At each appointment your dentist will advise when you need your next appointment.
If you have an increased risk of developing gum problems – for example, if you smoke or have diabetes – you may be advised to visit your dentist more often so your teeth and gums can be closely monitored.
Complications of gum disease
If you have untreated gum disease that develops into periodontitis, it can lead to further complications, such as:
- gum abscesses (painful collections of pus)
- receding gums
- loose teeth
- loss of teeth
Read more about the complications of gum disease.
Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Guidance FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Gingivitis and Periodontitis from producers of guidance information.
- Dental recall
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 October 2004
- Clinical Knowledge Summaries, 01 August 2012
Information for the public
Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Information for the public FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Gingivitis and Periodontitis, from Department of Health accredited producers of patient information.
Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Ongoing Research FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Gingivitis and Periodontitis, from research trials.
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 11 July 2012
The Effect of Daily Dietary Intake of Dried Juice Concentrates of Fruit, Vegetables and Berries Upon Outcomes of Chronic PeriodontitisUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 26 October 2010
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 25 February 2014
Effects of root canal treatment with or without manual-dynamic irrigation on post-operative pain and periapical healingUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 17 June 2014
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 26 June 2014
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 16 February 2014
Control of periodontal inflammation, systemic inflammatory responses and cognitive decline in Alzheimer s diseaseUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 16 August 2013
Open, Multicentric Trial Evaluating the Efficacy and the Clinical Tolerance of PA0903 as Root Canal SealerUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 06 November 2012
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 14 June 2010
Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Evidence Uncertainty FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Gingivitis and Periodontitis, highlighting areas where further research is needed.
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 24 July 2013
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 23 October 2012
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 18 June 2010
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 24 July 2014
Periodontal treatment (scaling, root planning, oral hygiene education) versus no treatment in pregnant women with periodontitis for reducing stillbirth, preterm birth and low birth weightUK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 15 March 2013
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 17 December 2013
Interdental brushing for the prevention and control of periodontal diseases and dental caries in adultsUK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 21 January 2014
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 21 January 2014
Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Medicines FeedbackAppropriate medicines information for Gingivitis and Periodontitis supplied by Datapharm, a leading source of trusted, credible information about medicines.
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