There are many ways to improve your health nowadays. Healthy eating, regular exercise and annual physical check-ups keep our bodies running smoothly. Prioritising oral hygiene and going for regular dental check-ups is just as important as watching cholesterol levels, but preventing periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is one of the most critical aspects of maintaining mouth health. According to the Singapore Health Survey conducted in 2003 mentioned in this National University Centre for Oral Health Singapore article, about 85% of the local population suffer from mild to moderately severe periodontal disease. As common as it is, familiarising yourself with periodontal disease symptoms is the first step toward prevention.
Gum disease has three main phases: gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.
This first stage is the most common, but it's also reversible. Its symptoms include red and swollen gums, gums that easily bleed while brushing and flossing, a receding gum line and bad breath.
At this stage of gum disease, gingivitis has advanced to the more serious condition known as periodontitis. This results in damage to the soft tissue and loss of bone that support your teeth.
This final stage of gum disease is the most severe and is characterised by actual loss in the bone and loss of periodontal tissues that support your teeth. This results in the shifting and loosening of teeth, and tooth extraction may become necessary to remove further infection.
The range of symptoms of gum disease can be found on the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) Health Hub website:
- Gums that bleed easily while brushing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Pus between the teeth and gums when the gums are pressed
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Loose teeth and receding gums
- Change in the way the teeth fit together while biting/Change in the fit of partial dentures
Periodontal disease can be a long, tedious process, transforming a once beautiful smile into a mouth requiring surgical procedures. But it doesn't have to be that way. Knowing the periodontal disease symptoms will help you recognise when gingivitis is setting in. Consult your dentist to create an oral hygiene treatment plan that includes brushing with a toothpaste to help fight gingivitis, reduce plaque and strengthen enamel. Don't forget to schedule regular professional cleaning appointments to remove plaque, tartar and food debris and reduce gingivitis in your mouth. With a little foresight and diligence, your smile can be restored.