Periodontitis – Advanced Gum Disease That Can Lead To Tooth Loss
Paying attention to your gums when you clean your teeth is essential for good oral health.
We hope that all of our Burton patients brush their teeth twice a day, and we suspect that the vast majority of you do so. How we brush our teeth is also important though and it is likely that a reasonable percentage of our patients could do more to preserve their oral health than they currently do. We will discuss this in more detail a little later on.
While brushing our teeth is important, we probably currently pay too little attention to our gums when we do so. This can have consequences not only for our gum health, but for our teeth too. In today’s blog, we will take a look at some of the problems that can be caused by gum disease, how to prevent it and how SG Dental and Implant Centre can help.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease causes inflammation of the gum and surrounding tissues. It can not only lead to unpleasant symptoms such as bleeding gums but can also make eating difficult due to the inflammation it causes. At its more advanced stage, known as periodontitis, it can also affect the roots of the teeth and the bone tissue surrounding it. When this happens, teeth may become loose and tooth loss may occur. It might surprise some of you to know that gum disease is actually responsible for even more tooth loss than decay is. Despite this, many of us probably tend to give our gum health secondary importance to our teeth when it comes to looking after them.
Earlier stage gum disease is called gingivitis and occurs when a thin film of bacteria known as plaque collects on the teeth and the gum line. Over time, if not removed, this begins to mix with other minerals in the salvia and forms a hard crust that is known as tartar or calculus. This creates a rough surface which then attracts even more bacteria and this is when periodontitis is most likely to start to occur.
Symptoms of gum disease can include sore or bleeding gums, inflammation of the gums, pus forming in the gum pockets, bad breath, loose teeth and many more. As you can see, it can cause some quite unpleasant problems and may even lead to you needing a tooth replacement procedure if any of your teeth fall out. Despite this, it is actually relatively straightforward to prevent it from becoming a serious problem.
What you can do to help prevent it?
The most basic yet essential way to prevent and manage gum disease is to brush your teeth well. This doesn’t just mean giving them a quick brush but spending the full two minutes brushing your teeth gently in a circular motion. You should also make sure to point the bristles towards the gums so that any food particles and debris can be removed from just below the gum line. It goes without saying that your toothbrush bristles should not be worn down and you should change your brush or brush head every 90 days or so.
Eating a sensible diet that isn’t high in sugar and avoiding similar soft drinks will help as well as bacteria feeds on sugars. It also multiplies faster in a dry environment so make sure to drink plenty of water in order to stay well hydrated, especially if you have consumed alcohol in the evening.
One thing that we haven’t mentioned yet is the use of dental floss. This is a very effective way of removing trapped bacteria and food yet so few of us do it (around one in five of us). We urge you to give it a try. It only takes a little practise and, once mastered, you will have added a very effective way of keeping your gums cleaner and healthier to your daily oral health routine.
How our dental hygienist can help you
There is one last thing that you should do, however well you clean your teeth and pay attention to your oral health, and that is to have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months or so by our Burton dental hygienist. In addition to monitoring your gum health and discussing ways to improve it, you will receive a treatment known as a ‘scale and polish’ which is a great way to remove hardened bacteria (tartar) from the gum line and therefore help to prevent gum disease.
If you haven’t seen a dental hygienist before, or have not done so for some time, what better time to start. To arrange an appointment at our local clinic, please call SG Dental and Implant Centre today on 01283 845345.