Understanding Gum Disease

Understanding Gum Disease

As a dental therapist, one question I’m often asked is, ‘what is gum disease?’


Here is my simple explanation 😊

Our mouths are home to many different bacteria which attach the teeth as a coating called plaque.

If this plaque is not cleaned off with effective brushing, it irritates the gums and causes them to become angry and inflamed. In the early stages this is called gingivitis.

We can often recognise if our gums are inflamed because they will tend to bleed.

If this problem is not addressed, the disease can worsen and start to damage the foundations which hold the teeth in place.

Small spaces called ‘pockets’ develop and trap plaque under the gum

Initially, we don’t always see many symptoms.  However, as the disease develops and more of the support is destroyed, we see problems such as loosening of the teeth, halitosis (bad breath), infections and gaps appearing between teeth.  In the worst cases, teeth can be lost.

Because we want to prevent things from escalating to this point, it is important to visit your dentist regularly.

It is not always easy to spot gum disease by yourself, particularly if you are a smoker.

Your dentist will identify any problems at an early stage and, with assistance from a therapist or hygienist and a thorough home cleaning regime, can ensure that your hygiene is maintained to help stop the problem in it’s tracks

Thanks for reading this simple introduction. In future blog posts we’re going to explore this issue in more detail so please stay tuned! 😊



kathryn dobson hygienist in burnley

Kathryn Dobson

Dental Therapist



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