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.