Gum Disease is a very common condition, yet people are often unaware they have it. Early diagnosis can make a big difference, so it’s important you recognize the signs and know what to do about them.
Spitting blood when brushing your teeth could be an early sign of gum disease.
The best ways to avoid gum disease
- Everyone should make regular visits to the Dentist/hygienist
- Together with brushing and flossing properly, its’ one of the best ways you can try to avoid gum disease
- More than half of adults across the UK have gum disease, according to NHS estimates
- Use an antibacterial mouth rinse, which can kill bacteria and lessons the amount of plaque in your mouth
- If untreated it can lead to tooth loss as well as more serious medical conditions
What are the symptoms?
If you have gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and you may have bad breath. This early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis.
If gingivitis isn't treated, a condition called periodontitis can develop. This affects more tissues that support teeth and hold them in place.
If periodontitis isn't treated, the bone in your jaw may be damaged and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth. Your teeth can become loose and may eventually fall out.
How can I treat gum disease?
Thankfully, the early stages of gum disease are very treatable with good oral hygiene, and can in many cases be entirely reversed. Brushing thoroughly twice a day with regular flossing - at least once a day - is the best way to prevent gum disease. Your dentist might also be able to recommend an anti-bacterial mouthwash if you're particularly concerned.
The later stages of gum disease - periodontitis - can be harder to treat, and requires special attention. Here, the infection is deeper-rooted, and oral surgery may be required to fully remove the infection and replace damaged bone or tissue.
How can I prevent gum disease?
The best way to avoid gum disease entirely is to keep regular appointments with your dentist and hygienist. Opting for a scale and polish will help to remove any food, plaque and tartar build up from above and below the gum line, and regular check-ups will allow your dentist to alert you to any oral health concerns you should be aware of.
You're also at a higher risk of gum disease if you:
- Have diabetes
- Suffer from stress
- On certain types of medication that lesson the flow of saliva
- Suffer from certain illnesses (such as cancer, as the treatment can increase risk)
- Have a family history of gum disease
- Are female, and suffer from hormonal changes
Frequently Asked Questions
How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?
Smoking can also make gum disease worse. The gum`s ability of repair and defence is diminished by the content of tobacco smoke.
What treatments are needed?
Your dental hygienist will clean your teeth thoroughly to remove the scale. You`ll also be shown how to remove plaque successfully yourself, cleaning all surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and effectively. This may take a number of sessions.
What do I do if I think I have gum disease?
Firstly you should visit your dentist for a thorough check up of your teeth and gums. Your dentist may take x-rays to assess the bone levels around the teeth. This is usually an indication of whether gum disease is present. The dentist can measure the `cuff` of gum around each tooth with a blunt probe, which measure the depths of any 'pocketing' around the tooth. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.