Gum Disease – Prevention And Treatment

Gingivitis and periodontitis – take them seriously!

PeriodontitisMost of us probably pride ourselves on the fact that we take good care of our teeth, brushing and hopefully flossing on a daily basis. This is a good thing of course, but equally, many of us probably pay much less attention to the health of our gums.

Although we may not suffer the same pain that a sudden toothache can cause when our gums become infected, they can still cause significant discomfort and can even result in tooth loss if care isn’t taken.

The good thing is that gum disease can be prevented with just a little extra care and regular dental visits mean that it can also usually be treated during its earlier stages with a less invasive treatment than the more advanced stage would require.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease occurs when the number of harmful bacteria in our mouth increases. This can be caused by several things. The most obvious of these is poor oral care i.e., failing to brush and floss regularly. Smoking and excess drinking are also likely to increase the risk of this as are some medical conditions such as diabetes. All of these cause a buildup of plaque and tartar on our teeth and eventually cause them to become infected.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of gum disease are varied and indeed, it is possible for you to barely have any at all. This is one of the reasons why we strongly recommend that you have a regular oral hygienist appointment at Blue Sky Dental every six months, or more frequently if you are in a high risk group.

Some symptoms are more likely as the problem becomes more advanced but you should take care to check for any of the following.

  • Painful, tender or inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums, especially when you brush your teeth
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)

There are many more but these are some of the most noticeable. If you detect any of these, please contact our Chelmsford based clinic for an appointment to have your gum health assessed.

Preventing gum disease

It is quite possible that we will all have gum disease to some degree during our lifetime. Mostly, this will be mild and may occur at times when we have neglected our mouth more than usual. An example of this might be if we have the flu or covid and are struggling to carry out our routine tasks such as cleaning our teeth. In most cases though, our gum health will be restored once we start brushing correctly again.  If you have been ill for some time though, it is worth seeing the hygienist following your recovery, just to be on the safe side.

Preventing gum disease is relatively straightforward and we can increase the chances of avoiding it by brushing better, making sure that we angle the bristles at around 45 degrees so that they reach beneath the gum line, removing food debris and bacteria from these areas. Stopping smoking and excess alcohol consumption will also have a very positive effect too. Dehydration can also increase the bacterial count in our mouths as there is less saliva to flush them away, so make sure to stay well hydrated, especially after drinking alcohol.

Treating gum disease

Whilst prevention of gum disease is key to good oral health, we should all take advantage of the excellent oral hygienist service at Blue Sky Dental to have our teeth professionally cleaned on a regular six monthly basis. This helps to prevent any significant build up of tartar which is a hardened collection of bacteria and mineral deposits that builds up around the gumline. The rough surface attracts more bacteria too, increasing the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis.

As well as being given guidance on how to care for your oral health better, you will receive a scale and polish which removes this built up tartar, not only leaving your teeth and gums healthier but looking and feeling a lot better too. It is a non-invasive treatment that can make a real difference to your oral health.

Whilst this treatment is highly effective for mild to moderate gum disease; if allowed to advance, things become much more difficult to treat. At the later stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the infection not only affects the gums but also the roots of the teeth and the surrounding bone. Left untreated, this can cause the teeth to become loose and wobbly and eventually fall out. The main treatment available for this is ‘root scaling’ or ‘root planing’. This is a more complex and invasive treatment that involves cleaning deep below the gumline to remove bacteria from the tooth roots and bone tissue. This is one of few treatments for gum disease available at this stage and there is no guarantee of success, so given the relative ease of preventing it reaching this stage, there is no real reason not to.

Please do remember that your gum health is important and that you should take good care of them. We very strongly recommend that if you don’t currently see a hygienist, you make this a part of your regular routine. You can book an appointment to see a member of our Chelmsford hygiene team by calling Blue Sky Dental today on 01245 211070.

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