Seeing the dentist

Gum disease

If you are suffering from sore, swollen or bleeding gums you may have gum disease, which your dentist may call gingivitis.

Gum disease is a very common condition that most people will experience at some point in their lives. It is caused by bacteria that irritate the gums as plaque builds up on the teeth.

Gum disease may be painful, and even in mild cases may also cause bad breath. As it progresses it can lead to bleeding gums and may make your teeth wobbly (‘mobile’).

If it is not treated, it may develop into a condition called periodontitis that is much more serious and difficult to treat. Periodontitis can have negative effects on your health and may even make your teeth fall out.

How do I treat gum disease?

Gum disease is easy to treat. Improving and maintaining good oral hygiene is the most effective way to treat and prevent it. This involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day, using dental floss, and visiting your dentist regularly.

When you visit your dentist, they may clean your teeth more thoroughly. This is called ‘scaling and polishing’ and is an important addition to your own brushing.

If you have very bad gum disease or other medical conditions that affect your gums, you may need periodontal treatment (often called ‘perio’ by dentists).