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Helping protect your gum health

Often just referred to as gum disease, periodontal is the term used to describe something which affects the gums and surrounding bone.

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What is gum disease?

Gum disease is caused by a build-up of bacteria and food debris around your teeth (plaque) which eventually becomes a hard substance called tartar (calculus). The bacteria in plaque release chemicals which can irritate the surrounding gum and leads to inflammation. If left untreated this can lead to the progressive loss of bone that hold the teeth in place, also known as periodontitis.

Gum disease is much easier to treat in its early stages so make an appointment with your dentist if you experience any swelling or redness. Bleeding when brushing and flossing is a particular indicator of gum disease.

If you suspect you have gum disease it is very important to maintain your oral hygiene to protect your gums from further bacterial infection.

Stages of gum disease


The first stage of gum disease is characterised by red and swollen gums, which bleed when you brush.


The advanced form of gum disease has the following symptoms: bad breath or taste in the mouth, gum abscesses, trouble swallowing, gums receding and excessive saliva.

Periodontitis literally means ‘inflammation around the tooth’ and, if left untreated, can lead to teeth falling out. The bone that holds your teeth in place shrinks back away from the affected teeth causing them to become loose and eventually fall out. This can also affect your later options for dental implants and dentures.

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What can be done?

It is not possible to remove tartar by brushing alone and a visit to the dentist will allow it to be removed using specialist techniques.

We would recommend at least two visits to a dental hygienist per year in order to remove any plaque build-up and maintain healthy gums.

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