Gum disease

Focus on gum disease and prevention

If you are a young adult, you may think that now you have mastered the art of toothbrushing and childhood decay is behind you, you have nothing much to worry about tooth-wise.

Gum Disease and Prevention in EdinburghWe wish it was so, but there is an ever-present threat in your mouth that can lead to your teeth becoming loose and falling out. It’s gum disease. You may have seen the ads about it on TV, with the woman spitting blood when she brushes her teeth.

That’s the start of gum disease, but the end is often painful infections and then teeth falling out. And all from that sticky layer of plaque that builds up on your teeth between meals. Amazing.

What is that sticky stuff anyway?

Plaque is an ever-present, ever-active layer of bacteria that clings to the surfaces of your mouth to avoid being swallowed. The bacteria themselves are just harmlessly living in your mouth, but as they go about their daily routines of feeding on the sugars in your saliva and dividing to produce more bacteria, they give off acids. And it’s the acids that do the damage.

If you swished acids around your mouth, you’d expect them to inflame and irritate your gums, attack your tooth enamel and under your gums. And that is exactly what plaque acids do. They get diluted as they mix with your saliva, but at source, ie. around your teeth and gums, they are pretty concentrated.

What can you do?

It’s simple. You need to keep up a diligent twice-daily brushing routine to remove plaque. At Meadowbank Dental Practice in Edinburgh, we can teach you how to brush your teeth, suggest good toothbrushes and pastes and also discuss flossing, interdental brushes and mouthwashes. So, if you want to pick up some great tips, don’t hesitate to ask either our dentists or our hygienists.

The other thing you really need to do is come for check-ups and hygienist sessions. You can never get rid of all your plaque, so the session with the hygienist is to make sure to remove the plaque you have not been able to reach with your brush.

The enemy you may not know you have

There are two main ways people lose their teeth, one is through decay and the other is through gum disease. Both start off silently, and it’s not until their later stages that they start to hurt. Both can cause you to lose your teeth. The problem with gum disease is that once it’s reached its advanced stage, it is very, very hard to get rid of. If you are not very keen on brushing your teeth, read on. You need to know about gum disease and prevention in Edinburgh, and if you read this, you will want to brush your teeth.

Gum Disease and Prevention in EdinburghWhat causes gum disease

Gum disease is caused by not practising good enough oral hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth twice a day, or floss between them, you are allowing bacteria to feed on the sugars in your mouth, and to build up around the gum line. These bacteria, while harmless in themselves, give off acids that inflame and irritate the gums.

Early gum disease

The disease that causes inflamed and irritated gums is gingivitis. The gums may swell and can look red. They hurt and they may also bleed when you brush your teeth. These inflamed gums tend to pull away from the teeth and open up little pockets between the gum and the teeth. At this stage, you can get rid of gum disease with diligent brushing and flossing, and with help from your dental hygienist here at Meadowbank Dental in Edinburgh.

Advanced gum disease

Plaque bacteria can get into these pockets and start to build up. The acids from the bacteria start to attack your jawbone beneath the gums and as it is eaten away, your teeth can become loose. Your dentist may be able to hold them in place with splints for a bit, but eventually they will probably fall out. This stage of gum disease is called periodontitis.


Ideally, you want to avoid getting gum disease. Our hygienist can teach you how to brush the plaque away. Floss and interdental brushes can remove plaque from between your teeth, and a biannual clean and polish from the hygienist can remove all the bits you can’t reach properly.

Taking a look at gum disease

Your gums are a very important part of your mouth, and, as a dental patient, your job is to practice good oral hygiene. That means regular brushing, flossing, check-ups and cleanings with the dental hygienist. If you are diligent about all this, you can keep your gums firm and pink and fitting tightly around your teeth. By keeping plaque at bay, you should be able to avoid the more serious side of dentistry – periodontics.

Periodontics in EdinburghHere at Meadowbank Dental Practice in Edinburgh, periodontics focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of oral disease, especially in the gums.

It is very important to treat the early signs of gum disease, known as gingivitis. This is because untreated early gum disease can turn into something more serious – periodontitis.

How gingivitis shows itself

The gingiva is the area of the gum around the base of the teeth, and when it gets irritated, it shows up as puffiness, bleeding when you brush or floss, bad breath, redness, tenderness and gums that are starting to recede. You may not be able to spot most of these symptoms, but we can, and it’s important that you come to us regularly for check-ups so that we can check your gums. The sooner we can treat your symptoms, the more chance you have of stopping your symptoms from developing into periodontitis.

Periodontitis shows up as swollen, bright red or even purplish gums that feel tender when touched and maybe pulling away from your teeth, making them look longer than normal. You can develop new spaces between your teeth. There may be pus, and so you may have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. Your teeth can become loose and there may be a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.

Untreated periodontitis can lead to loss of tissue and bone. One of the main treatments is to thoroughly clean any pockets around the teeth to prevent infection in the bone. We will remove any tartar and plaque. We may also polish the root of your tooth to do away with places that plaque can build up. You may also need antibiotics as part of the treatment.

The stealth disease

So, there you are, busy every day, overworked, no wonder you haven’t been to us for a check-up in a couple of years. But, hey, it’s ok, isn’t it? You’re brushing your teeth twice a day and you’d know if anything was wrong, wouldn’t you?

Well, no actually, you wouldn’t. And by the time you do know, because you feel some kind of discomfort or your gums are bleeding when you brush your teeth, you have gum disease and it’s already becoming quite advanced.

Gum disease, or gingivitis as we like to call it here in the dental profession, is a sneaky one. In its very early stages, you just don’t know you’ve got it, and in its later stages, it becomes very hard to get rid of and can even lead to you losing your teeth.

Gum Disease in EdinburghHow gingivitis takes hold

You need to take gingivitis seriously. In these days of great dentistry, people are losing fewer teeth to decay than they are to gum disease. Here’s how the stealth oral disease works.

Gum disease is caused by the build-up of plaque between your teeth. Plaque is that sticky film that you can feel on your teeth when you haven’t brushed them for a few hours. It develops after you’ve eaten and is in fact millions of bacteria feasting on the sugars left in your mouth after you have eaten. As they eat, they give off an acid that can erode your teeth, leading to decay, which is one reason why you need to clean your teeth twice a day.

The other reason is that this plaque hardens into tartar, and when it does so around the gum area, the gums become inflamed, and can start to bleed. You may not notice early gum disease. It doesn’t hurt. But as dentists, we are trained to look for it during check-ups and in its early stages, it can be easily treated by removing the plaque build-up and more diligent oral care at home.

If left, enzymes in the plaque can attack the bone and your teeth can become loose and fall out. Don’t let it get to this stage. Come for your twice-yearly check-ups. They will save you time and money in the long run.

Gum disease and prevention in Edinburgh

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums that can progress to affect your jawbone and surrounding tissues. Because gum disease is usually painless and slow to develop, it can reach an advanced stage without you noticing any significant problems. If left untreated, gum disease can loosen your gums and bone structure and even lead to tooth loss.

At Meadowbank Dental in Edinburgh, we are committed to educating and assisting patients in preventing gum disease. Our associate dentist, Dr Sridhar N Rao, has a special interest in patients suffering from gum disease. He has been a part of the Meadowbank dental team since 2010 and holds a Masters in Periodontics, as well as extensive clinical and academic experience in treating gum disease in India and the UK.

Gum Disease in EdinburghCommon causes of gum disease

Gum disease is a very common oral problem that affects most people at some point in their life. It is usually caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums. If plaque deposits are not removed by your dentist, your body will attempt to get rid of them with an inflammation response. As a result, your gums will become red, sensitive and swollen.

Gingivitis and periodontitis

Gum disease consists of two stages which are known as gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis refers to the early stage of gum disease and only affects the surface of the gum, particularly the connecting tissue between the gum and the tooth. Gum disease at this stage is accompanied by swelling and bleeding gums and is completely reversible. However, if left untreated gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis penetrates into the bone and the fibres that connect the tooth root to the bone. If left untreated it can lead to damaged gums and tooth loss.

Prevention is better than cure

Even if you follow a diligent oral routine at home, you should visit your dentist at least twice a year to have your teeth and gums professionally cleaned. Although regular brushing and flossing will keep plaque at bay, only your dentist can remove hardened plaque build-up. Moreover, regular dental visits will enable your dentist to identify any problems and prevent them before they require more extensive or expensive treatment.

The low down on periodontics

What is periodontics?

Periodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of function and structure of the periodontal membrane. Most commonly, periodontal diseases are caused by bacterial plaque, which sticks to teeth and destroys the gum tissue. The most prevalent periodontal disease is periodontitis. If untreated, periodontitis leads to resorption of the portion of the jawbone that supports the teeth, leading to tooth loss.

periodontics-in-edinburghGum disease

Gum disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss. People are often unaware they have it because it isn’t painful and doesn’t affect daily life. If it is left untreated the impact can be serious, damaging the jawbone and the tissue that support the teeth.

Gum disease is preventable and, particularly in the early stages is relatively easy to treat if you take regular trips to the dentist.

If you think you may have gum disease it is important to call a reputable dentist, such as Meadowbank Dental, who can help treat any gum problems.


The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they can become. These bacteria cause inflammations of the gums that is called gingivitis.The gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily.

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with regular brushing and flossing, as well as cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.


When gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to a condition called periodontitis. It means inflammation around the tooth. In periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form that become infected.

The immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows underneath the gum line. Bacterial toxins start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If it is not treated, the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth will be destroyed. The teeth may eventually become wobbly and may have to be removed. A trip to see a periodontist, such as those at Meadowbank Dental can prevent your gum disease from becoming too serious.

Gum Disease and Prevention

Gum disease is a very common condition. It’s also one of the main causes of tooth loss in the UK. This is all the more shocking when you realise that gum disease is not only treatable, but also preventable.

gum diseaseThere are two forms of gum disease – the milder form is called gingivitis and the more serious form is called periodontitis. Periodontitis develops from untreated gingivitis, and it is this more advanced condition that can lead to losing teeth. That’s why, should you spot any symptoms of gingivitis, you should book an appointment with us as soon as you can. It’s also just one of the reasons that regular appointments with a dentist and hygienist are so important, because they can spot the early signs of the condition and treat it appropriately.

So, what are the early symptoms of gum disease? The first thing that many people notice is blood when they are brushing their teeth, either on the toothbrush or in your rinsing water or sink. You might also have swollen gums, which may or may not be painful; may notice persistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth; may have gums that are receding or teeth that become loose.

If you notice some of these symptoms, what should you do? The first thing is to book in to see one of our dentists or our hygienist. They can diagnose the condition, treat it and help you to prevent it from happening again.

Gum disease is caused by the build-up of plaque bacteria on your teeth. If this isn’t removed by brushing and flossing, it will turn into tartar and lead to gum disease. A thorough clean from the hygienist will remove the irritating tartar and plaque.

Your dentist or hygienist will also furnish you with advice on proper home care, including the correct brushing technique, when it is best to brush your teeth, using floss, interdental brushes and mouth wash correctly, as well as advising on how dietary factors and such habits as smoking can affect the health of your gums.

Gum disease can affect patients of all ages, so remember that this advice applies to all the family.

Periodontic Treatment for Healthy Teeth

When you smile, do you find more of your gums than your teeth are on show? If so, you may be afflicted by a gummy smile. The name might sound cute but the condition can make people very unhappy, and afraid to show their smile off in public.

periodontic-treatmentOther people complain that their teeth are “too short”. Unless your teeth are very worn, it’s more likely that they are standard length, but are covered by excess gum tissue, giving them a shorter appearance.

If this sounds familiar, the good news is that we can help. Meadowbank dentist Dr Sridhar Rao has a special interest in periodontology, an area of dentistry focused on the gums. Dr Rao offers gum contouring and teeth reshaping, which is used to correct gummy smiles and is sometimes referred to as smile design.

The first thing we will do if you come to see us about a gummy smile is to establish the cause. There are several causes of gummy smiles, including excess gum tissue, worn teeth, certain genetic conditions and a naturally high lip line. Once we’ve found the cause, we can recommend appropriate treatment.

Gum contouring is a simple treatment carried out under local anaesthetic, meaning you won’t feel any pain. Excess gum tissue is removed and more of the natural tooth is exposed. Afterwards you may need a few stitches, and any discomfort over the next few days should be mild and can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers. You may also find that special medicated mouthwash helps with the healing process.

If your teeth are worn, chipped or misshapen, we may recommend tooth reshaping. Again this is a simple procedure that requires only a local anaesthetic. A tiny amount of enamel is removed from the affected tooth, before it is polished to match your other teeth. Tooth reshaping can also be used for teeth that have small fractures or for those that are too pointy.

What is Gingivitis?

You may not have heard of gingivitis, but it’s something everybody needs to be aware of. Gingivitis is one of the most common dental conditions in the UK and is a leading cause of tooth loss. You will probably have heard of its colloquial name – gum disease – and may even have suffered from it, or suspect you are suffering from it now. If that’s the case then it’s time to book a check-up with the dentist.

gum diseaseGum disease comes in two forms. The first and most common stage is gingivitis, which most people will suffer from at some point in life. It’s caused by plaque bacteria building up on your teeth. If this bacteria isn’t removed, your gums become irritated and may become painful, swollen and prone to bleeding.

If gingivitis is not treated, it will only get worse and will develop into periodontitis, which can lead to more serious, unpleasant symptoms including loose teeth, abscesses on the gums and even tooth loss.

That’s why, as soon as you experience symptoms of gum disease, you should contact your dentist or hygienist. Early signs of gingivitis include:

  • Swollen and/or painful gums
  • Blood on the toothbrush or in the sink when you brush your teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

One problem with gingivitis, however, is that in the early stages symptoms may be hard to spot. That’s why it’s vital to attend regular dental check-ups and hygienist appointments. Not only are dentists and hygienists best-placed to recognise the early signs of the condition, but also six-monthly dental hygiene appointments will ensure that your teeth are professionally cleaned, getting rid of all plaque that may have built up in areas that are hard to reach yourself.

When spotted early, gingivitis can easily be managed and treated. Your hygienist will also provide you with professional tips on home care, demonstrating the best brushing and flossing techniques and recommending products such as interdental brushes, as well as providing dietary advice, to minimise the chances of the condition recurring in the future.