25 October 2017

Gum Disease Explained

Dr. Gerry Smit explains...

Is Gum Disease Getting in the Way of your Smile?

Did you know how serious gum disease can be? Did you realise it's the biggest cause of tooth-loss in adults? It can cause bad breath and poor appearance. It can make you look "long in the tooth". It's not a natural part of ageing. It's a disease and needs to be treated. Most people aren't aware of that and unfortunately for many it means they end up with loose or missing teeth.

Gum disease is a growing issue for many of the people we see. Your grandparents were happy to have teeth out and wear dentures but most people today don't want a lump of plastic moving around their mouth. There are several causes which can include poor oral hygiene and genetic factors all of which can lead to weak gums and in some cases tooth loss. By arranging regular checkups with your hygienist along with daily cleaning, you can dramatically reduce your risk of tooth loss..

When you are brushing it's important to always use a soft toothbrush. The harder the bristles of a toothbrush are, the more likely it is to irritate and aggravate gum disease. In this instances, a hard brush may in fact brush away the gum and lead to gum recession. Using a soft tooth brush can cause bleeding when you have gum disease but this is a sign you need to brush more and not less!

Other Causes of Gum Disease & Gum Recession


In some cases, people may naturally have thin gums and bone around the teeth. In some cases gum can be grafted into place to strengthen the gum and improve appearance.This can make your gums more resistant to recession in the future.


People with piercings tend to develop a habit of pushing the bar or ring against their teeth and can cause severe gum recession. Sometimes teeth can be lost from this.

Post-Orthodontic Recession

When teeth are moved, the gum can move down the tooth somewhat. In most cases, this doesn't progress after the braces are complete and only needs treatment if there is sensitivity.

Tooth Grinding

Some people get a habit of grinding in their sleep and this can lead to severe recession of the teeth. As you clench, you temporarily cut off the blood supply around the gum and can lead to recession. To combat this it is recommended to get a nightguard fitted.

Denture Clasps

Over the course of time, dentures can cause a lot of recession. This means a loose denture can move millimetres during chewing and push the gum back further causing damage to the gum around the teeth. It's important that if you notice your denture is loose, to have it adjusted or ideally changed by arranging a check up with your dentist. Implants or bridges may be a solution to get rid of dentures.

Dr. Gerry Smit

Implant Dentist

B.Ch.D. 1982 University of Pretoria

Practice Limited to Dental Implants, Misch Dental Implant Institute

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