We all know we must look after our teeth. Too much plaque and tartar can lead to decay and cavities. But for many people, that’s as far as oral health goes. It’s easy to forget about your gums—the foundations of your smile.
Gums are the soft tissue that surrounds the base of your teeth. They act as a protective barrier, stopping bacteria from getting to the roots, where it could cause infection.
Like tooth decay, gum disease is a very common problem. There’s a strong possibility you’ve had it in your lifetime, and you may even have it right now. Sometimes, you can have gum disease without even knowing it’s there.
So, what is gum disease? How do you know whether you’ve got it? And how do you treat and prevent it? Read on to find out the answers to all of these questions.
Gum disease is an oral health problem caused by bacteria. It can harm the gums and may lead to the loss of teeth and deterioration of your jaw. There are two types of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease. The symptoms of gingivitis are usually mild and can be easily missed. At this stage, tartar along the bottoms of your teeth causes irritation to your gums. This leads to inflammation. Your gums may look brighter or darker than usual, you may bleed while brushing your teeth or eating, and you may develop bad breath.
Left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontitis. As the disease progresses, pockets form around the base of your teeth. Your teeth may become loose, and they can even fall out. Periodontitis may also cause damage to your jaw.
The first sign of gum disease is often blood spots on your toothbrush, or in the toothpaste you spit out while cleaning your teeth. You may also see blood when you bite into food.
You may also experience redness, inflammation, and soreness. This often coincides with bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
As gum disease progresses, you may notice your teeth feel loose. In advanced cases, teeth will fall out, and you may develop an abscess.
Gum disease is caused by bad bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria is always present, and you can’t do anything to rid yourself of it completely. You can, however, reduce the impact the bacteria has on health.
The bacteria feed on sugars and starches in your diet. By reducing the amount of sugar you consume, you’ll give the bacteria less to feed on. Brushing your teeth regularly will also remove food debris. Flossing will also remove anything trapped between your teeth.
Your mouth naturally produces saliva. This mixes with the bacteria and food debris to produce a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque is easy to clean away. Thoroughly brushing your teeth will clear plaque that’s built up.
If plaque isn’t removed, it hardens to become tartar. To remove tartar, you’ll need professional cleaning. A visit to our hygienist will keep tartar from aggravating your gums.
Finally, a regular checkup allows us to spot the early signs of gum disease while it’s still easily managed.
If your gum disease is more advanced, changing your regular routine is helpful; however, you’ll need specialist treatment too. Scaling removes tartar build up above the gum line, while root planing cleans it from the roots.
At Harley Private Dental, we’re here to help you maintain your healthy smile. We know that gum care is an important element of your oral health. Our routine dental checkups can help you stay ahead of gum disease.
Contact us today to schedule your next checkup or hygiene appointment.Back to Blog
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