Periodontal (Gum) Disease

While you may think that loss of teeth is inevitable as we age, it is actually possible for all of your teeth to last a lifetime. One of the ways to achieve this goal is to avoid periodontal disease (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth), which is caused by bacteria that attacks the tissues around your teeth.

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Over 80 % of Singapore’s population suffers from gum disease. What is gum disease?

Do your gums bleed easily? Perhaps you have tried to rectify it by trying to avoid brushing your teeth? Or maybe, you have to brush with caution so that your toothbrush would not touch your gums? Well, in fact, what you are suffering from is gum disease.

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. It is caused by dental plaque accumulating on the teeth, leading to inflammation of the gum. Telltale signs of gingivitis are gums that are often red, swollen and bleeding. With the absence of treatment, gingivitis can progress into a “destructive” phase called periodontitis where the supporting tooth structure (also known as alveolar bone) erodes and causes teeth to become loose. Periodontitis can affect one tooth or several teeth. The signs and symptoms of Periodontitis are:

  • Red, swollen, puffy-looking or tender gums
  • Pus secretion from between the teeth and gums
  • Shaky teeth
  • Teeth appearing to drift apart from its original position
  • Receding gum line (gum recession)
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Discomfort or dull-ache of gums and teeth

In recent years, Periodontitis has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even cancer (American Academy of Periodontology, 2012).

Gum Disease Progression diagram

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Plaque- a thin, almost colourless and sticky bacterial film—forms on teeth everyday. Once hardened, it cannot be removed through brushing or flossing.

1)   Plaque accumulating on the tooth near the gum margin

2)   Plaque progresses into tartar, which is hard to remove, hence causing swollen gums and bone loss.

3)   Eventually, the tooth becomes loose.

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A set of good oral hygiene habits is never complete without proper dental scaling and cleaning bi-annually. Apart from preventing cavities, it also removes calculus build-up, which may develop even with good daily oral care; i.e. brushing and flossing. Regular scaling and cleaning also deal with the proper removal of stains. Even your favourite berries and daily energy booster—coffee, cause stains on your teeth! Dental cleaning and scaling would effectively and thoroughly cleanse your teeth by tackling areas that are hard to reach by your toothbrush and dental floss. Be consistent and get brighter teeth today in just 30 minutes.

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