- Posted by Dr Alex Loh
- On August 7, 2017
A study of the Australian population showed that the main reason for tooth loss over 40 was gum disease (periodontitis). The question is, does gum disease only affect the older population?
The reality is that gum disease is a slow progression, and is a good example of a silent infection. Bacteria around the gum slowly results in the bone supporting the teeth dissolving away. This can start as young as the teenage years! This is usually completely painless, and the only telltale sign may be bleeding of the gums, particularly when brushing teeth. Over the period of several years, more and more bone dissolves away, until eventually all the bone supporting the tooth is gone. Only at this point does the tooth become painful – just before the tooth falls out.
Heart disease and high blood pressure are other example where there is no sign of anything wrong – until it is too late.
The most problematic thing about gum disease is that once the bone dissolves away, it NEVER GROWS BACK AGAIN, regardless of what treatment is provided. This means, the damage to the gums is permanent.
Fortunately, gum disease is very easily manageable in the early state. If picked up early, the correct measures can significantly control the potential damage caused by gum disease and stop the loss of teeth. The more that gum disease has progressed, the harder it is to manage and control!