How Serious Is Gum Disease?

How Serious Is Gum Disease?

Does the UK treat gingivitis and periodontitis too lightly?

It is possible that younger people, with the aid of easily accessible information via the internet, are now more aware of gum disease than our older patients. For many in their later years, gingivitis was something that they may have given their dog chewing sticks to prevent, unaware that they may themselves, also be suffering with it!

Unlike tooth decay, where the patient may suffer from a painful toothache, gum disease can be relatively ‘silent’, at least until it becomes more advanced.

What to look for

There are a few potential signs that all may not be well with your gums, although these are not always present. Potential symptoms of gingivitis, or early stage gum disease, may include:

●     Red, or sore, gums

●     Bleeding when you spit after brushing your teeth

●     Inflammation

●     Receding gums

●     Bad breath

Gingivitis can often be treated in a straightforward manner, either through the improvement of your personal oral care regimen, or through a programme of ‘scale and polish’ treatments by our Bedford dental hygienist.


If your gingivitis is not treated, your gum problems will become more advanced, with more serious results. When periodontitis occurs, not only are your gums affected, but the bone that hold the teeth roots in place can also become damaged. This can result in the loss of teeth unless treatment is sought. Symptoms may include:

●     Persistent bad smelling breath

●     Pain when chewing

●     Loose teeth

Treatment for periodontitis is available but requires an invasive procedure, often performed by a specialist dentist rather than a hygienist. This involves cleaning below the gum line down to the roots of the teeth. As you can imagine, this is not a particularly pleasant procedure, especially when it likely could have been avoided with early intervention.

Avoiding gum problems

If you want to have healthier gums; making a regular appointment with the hygienist at The Dental Centre Bedford is an excellent way to start the process. The hygienist will be able to remove any hardened tartar from the teeth and gums, using a ‘scale and polish’ procedure, and will also advise how you can improve your own oral health care.

The scale and polish procedure involves the removal of tartar (hard bacteria) from both the teeth and the gum-line, where we may not reach when brushing. Once this has been removed, a high speed brush is used to remove any remaining staining from the teeth. Not only does this procedure help to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy, but may also give them a visual boost too.

To arrange an appointment with the hygienist at our Bedford practice, please call us on 01234 819868.