A dentist, Dr Adesola Adeleye, says swollen and bleeding gums could be the first sign of a gum disease.

“Gum disease usually develops painlessly and you may be unaware you have it. The first sign may be bleeding, while you are brushing.

“Red, swollen and bleeding gums are signs of periodontal disease, while healthy gums are pink, firm and keep your teeth securely in place.

“Your gums should not bleed when you touch or brush them,” she said.

Adeleye noted that untreated gum disease had also been associated with other health conditions like diabetes and heart conditions.

“It is thus important that gum disease be treated as soon as it is noticed,” she said.

Adeleye said that gum disease was preventable with good oral hygiene, adding that regular dental checks, at least twice a year was also important.

Also, a cosmetic dental surgeon, Dr Uchenna Okoye, attributed the major cause of tooth loss in adults to various forms of gum diseases.

Okoye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday that one in every two adults suffered from one form of gum disease or the other.

According to her, “Over the years in my practice as a dentist, I have come to realise that gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

“One in every two adults has suffered from one form of gum disease or the other. Gum disease can develop when plaque bacteria accumulate and release toxic substances leading to bad breath.”

Okoye said that gum disease could be caused by several factors and the commonest cause was poor oral hygiene.

“Gum disease can be caused by a number of factors like poor oral hygiene, poor diet and smoking.

“Poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing your teeth properly or regularly and using low quality toothpastes, can cause plaque to build up on your teeth.

“Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth every day. It leads to increased tooth sensitivity and cavities, which may eventually result in gum disease.

“Gum disease occurs when there is a swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth and if left untreated, can result in tooth loss,” she said.

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