Gum Disease

Preventing tooth decay and/or gum diseases like Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease will help your teeth last a lifetime!

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. It is the initial stage of gum disease and the easiest to treat. The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque: the soft, sticky, colourless film of bacteria that forms constantly on the teeth and gums.

If the plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. At this early stage of gum disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected. However, untreated gingivitis can become periodontitis and cause permanent damage to your teeth and jaw.

Gingivitis can be treated fairly simply. A good place to start is with a professional cleaning by your dentist or oral hygienist. Follow this up with improved oral hygiene habits including regular brushing and flossing. A healthy diet will also help reduce the chance of recurrence.

The best way to prevent gum disease is pretty simple – clean your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Brush the teeth for two to three minutes at a time and ensure the head of the toothbrush moves along the gum line pointing towards the gum so that bristles work their way beneath the gums. Also, it’s worth using a mouthwash as a final step in the process.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is advanced gum disease that occurs if gingivitis is left untreated. It is a serious condition affecting the tissues and bone that support the tooth. When gingivitis is left untreated, the gum pulls away from the tooth, opening up pockets in the gums. These pockets become a breeding ground for bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the tooth and, eventually, the bone. Teeth will start to loosen in the mouth and may even fall out.

Periodontal disease needs a professional clean, which includes deep scaling and root planning to clean between the gums and teeth down the roots. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove all bacteria. Occasionally, soft tissue grafts are required. After treatment, an improved oral hygiene regimen is essential.

Of course, visiting the dentist twice a year for a check-up is the best way to identify any problems. Include a professional clean during your visit to keep your gums healthy and to remove any plaque building up on your teeth.

Your dentist would also be happy to show you the correct way to brush and floss your teeth.

Principal dentist Dr Natalie Bowen graduated in 2002 from the University of Queensland with honours. Natalie spent her early career supporting the rural community in Charters Towers and surrounding regions for 4 years. She returned to Brisbane, working several years in private practice before establishing Murrumba Downs Family Dental in 2010.

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We accept all health funds and are preferred providers for Medibank Private, HCF, TUH, and NIB. Members of these funds have low to no out of pocket expenses for preventative services.

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