Gum disease happens when there's too much bacteria in your gums from improper brushing.
Combined with a weakened immune system due to stress, smoking, and lack of sleep, the bone and gum around your teeth start to melt away. As a result, your teeth become loose and shakey, and may eventually fall out.
Gum disease is insidious, and sometimes can be pain-free. I've noticed patients tend to live in denial for a long time, and seek help only when it is TOO LATE. By this time, their teeth will have lost all its surrounding bone, and extraction is the only solution :(
So when should you pay a visit to your dentist help? Take this quiz to find out!
1. Do your gums bleed when you brush, or even bleed spontaneously?
Recently, I saw a patient who told me that his gums bleed when he sucks on sweets. I asked him why he didn’t seek help earlier - he responded that he thought it was normal!!! This went on until he made a passing comment about his bleeding gums to a colleague. Said colleague convinced him that something was wrong, and dragged him down to see me. He owes her LOTS I think!! 😅
2. Are your gums receding and pulling away from your teeth?
Very often, gums recede when the bone around the tooth melts away from gum disease. So if you notice your teeth getting longer and longer, do get a dental check-up!
3. Are your gums sore or painful?
The inflammation caused by gum disease can cause soreness. Having gum disease is like having a huge wound in your mouth - the size of the wound is about the size of your palm. You wouldn’t be walking around with a huge wound on your hand, would you?
Bacteria and all sorts of germs can get into your body when the protective barrier in the oral cavity is damaged. That’s why it is so important to get gum disease treated ASAP!
4. Are your teeth starting to space out?
As the bone between the teeth is lost, black triangles develop. It doesn’t look good, and may even affect the way you speak, especially if the bone loss happens around the front teeth.
When the support around teeth is lost, the biting forces also cause the teeth to splay out. This leads to even bigger gaps between your teeth!
5. Do you have persistent bad breath?
Gum disease-causing bacteria hide in the gums and produce Sulphur, one of the smelliest volatile compounds.
Sulphuric compounds are also produced in volcanoes, rotten eggs and the bathroom sink/drain. So don't blame your partner or friends for not going near you, because your breath could literally smell like the bathroom sink 🤢
6. Are your teeth becoming shaky?
As the bone around teeth starts melting away, support is lost and your teeth lose anchorage. When the bone loss is severe enough, teeth will literally fall out from your mouth. So sad!
7. Does pus or white stuff ooze out from your gums?
Pus is a collection of dead white blood cells, bacteria, and other tissues - all casualties of the on-going war in your mouth.
When a person has gum disease, the body is constantly trying to fight and wall off the invaders. It's very tiring for your immune system.
And if you have pus, it just means that your body is already suffering a lot of casualties!
If you answered yes to more than 4 of these symptoms, it could mean that you have gum disease. So go see your dentist or periodontist soon! #Don’tsaybojio!
Dr Marlene Teo is a Periodontist (gum specialist) at TP Dental. She holds a joint appointment as Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the National University of Singapore. Dr Teo passionately believes in leading a holistic and healthy lifestyle to boost immunity and combat periodontal disease.