Caring for your teeth is only the first step to dental hygiene and it is important to consider gum care in your oral health plan. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the most common dental problems adults face, yet it can begin at any age. It is often painless and happens slowly. Sometimes you may not notice any signs until the disease is serious and you are in danger of losing your teeth. The good news is that gum disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. Gum disease can be treated and even turned around in its early stages.
There are 2 types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a term used to describe inflammation of the gums that usually precedes periodontitis if left untreated.
Periodontitis is one of the main reasons why adults lose their teeth. It is an inflammation of the bone and soft tissue around your teeth. Without enough bone and soft tissue to hold your teeth in place, your teeth can become loose and fall out. In its early stages, periodontitis is very hard to see. You may not know that you have a problem until you visit your dentist.
The warning signs of periodontitis may include:
Gum care is all about preventative measures and regular maintenance so here are some ways to ensure gum health:
Dentist and hygienists can assess your needs and treat gum disease. They can get into the hard to reach places below the gums and have the tools to remove plaque and calculus build-up, which is the leading cause of gum disease. Most people should be seen every 6 months for dental cleanings although, in some cases where the gum disease is more advanced, it may be recommended to be treated every 3 months. The interval is based on your own individual circumstances.
Brushing twice daily helps to maintain healthy teeth and gums. This removes daily food and soft plaque buildup. Ensure that you use a soft or extra soft toothbrush as well as gentle pressure so as not to cut or damage your gums. Aim for 2-3 minutes of brushing time to be the most effective. An electric toothbrush is also a great option in some cases. Flossing helps to reach food and debris in between your teeth that you can't reach with your toothbrush. This debris, if left, can cause infection and lead to cavities. Although it doesn't matter the time of day that you floss, it is important to try and do it once a day to be most effective and remove debris in between your teeth.
Healthy food is good for both general health and oral health. Nutrients from healthy foods help reduce the risk of cavities and keep gums healthy. Avoiding foods high in sugar and acids as well as carbonated beverages can help maintain a healthy mouth.
Tobacco use can increase the severity of gum disease and increase the rate at which it progresses. It also affects the ability of the mouth to heal and respond to treatment. Smoking and chewing tobacco use has long-term implications for your body as well as your mouth.
Gum care is not something you should ignore so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is best to seek the advice of a trained professional. For more information or to book an appointment or consultation on your gum health, contact us to arrange a complimentary consultation with one of our dentists.