2nd July 2018

Ways You Can Prevent Gum Disease

Being diagnosed with gum disease is a scary thought for anyone, and yet is surprisingly common. Most adults in the UK have gum disease to some degree and most people experience it at least once. Whilst we try our very best to take care of our teeth and gums, there are still instances where we could be doing more to prevent issues. In the long term, learning the warning signs of gum disease and acting against it before it progresses is the best way to ensure good oral health for life.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a condition whereby your gums become sore, swollen or infected. It is caused by a build-up of plaque bacteria; a sticky, colourless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed it can harden and turn into tartar (calculus). Brushing or flossing cannot remove tartar; a dental professional will need to conduct a dental cleaning to remove it. Unfortunately, gum disease does not usually cause pain as it gets worse, so you do not notice the damage it is doing.

Gum disease starts as gingivitis, whereby you may have bad breath, swollen red gums, and your teeth might bleed when you brush. At this stage, gum disease is reversible. Over time, if left untreated, this can then develop into something called periodontitis; this affects more of the tissue in your gums and bone levels recede. Worst case, if left untreated, this can evolve into advanced periodontitis and cause your teeth to become loose or even fall out due to your gums and bone being unable to hold your teeth in place. Tooth loss is a scary thought, but there are steps you can take that will help you to know when to spot gum disease, and how to treat it.

How to spot it

Regular check-ups with your dentist will alert you to any issues you may be having with your gums. If your gums start to bleed, are painful or feel swollen, then it’s best to book an appointment with your dentist straight away. Catching the onset of gum disease can be crucial in preventing it.

Steps can you take

Maintaining a constant level of good oral hygiene is paramount.

  1. Cleaning interdentally (in-between your teeth) at least once daily is as important as brushing, otherwise, you risk not cleaning up to 35 of your tooth’s surfaces. This will help prevent decay and gum disease. Your hygienist is the best person to advise you which interdental cleaning aid is best for you, as it will depend on the size of the spaces between your teeth (everyone is different).
  2. As we’ve always been taught, brushing your teeth twice daily is recommended when it comes to looking after your teeth and gums; keeping them both clean and healthy. Your dental practitioner would advise you to angle your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle allowing the bristles to touch your gums, and brush in small circular motions for at least 2 minutes – or better, purchase an electric toothbrush to do the hard work for you!
  3. Your hygienist will not only treat and prevent gum disease but will give you the knowledge to prevent it yourself at home with a better oral hygiene regime, tailored to you.

Risk Factors

There are certain lifestyle choices which can increase your risk of gum disease and worsen symptoms over time. For example, smokers are six times more likely to lose bone around the teeth. During pregnancy, certain hormonal changes can impact the way gums react to the plaque. Stress, genetics and long-term medical conditions such as diabetes can also make you much more prone to gum disease. In which case, regular visits to your hygienist should be a priority to help mitigate your risk despite being more susceptible to issues.

Preventing gum disease is easy enough if you actively take steps to do so. Remember, good oral health begins with you.

For more information and advice on preventing gum disease, or for a general checkup or hygienist visit don’t hesitate to book an appointment or call our team on 01925 756565 for further information.

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