What is gum disease?
Gum disease is when your gums become swollen, sore or infected. Gum disease may not cause pain as it gets worse, so many don’t often notice that they have it until it’s too late.
What are the signs of gum disease?
- Your gums bleed when you brush your teeth;
- An itchy feeling in your gums;
- You have bad breath;
- You often have an unpleasant taste in your mouth;
- You have loose teeth that make eating difficult;
- Collections of pus start to develop under your teeth and gums (also known as gum abscesses).
What causes gum disease?
The most common cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day, and floss at least once a day. Failure to do so can lead to the build-up of plaque on your teeth. If plaque is not removed it can harden and form a substance called tartar which can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. As tartar forms around your gum line harmful poisons are released into your gums causing the gums to become irritated and inflamed. If left unattended the gums will start to pull away from teeth. Making the teeth appear longer and splayed. The gaps created between your teeth and gums can become infected, and it is only a matter of time before the bone supporting teeth becomes destroyed leading to tooth loss. This is a severe form of gum disease known as periodontitis.
Who is most at risk of developing gum disease?
- People who have poor oral hygiene habits;
- Smokers: people who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque. Smoking also causes lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, which means that infected gums are less likely to heal;
- Older people: the older you are the more at risk you are to gum disease especially if you’ve maintained poor oral hygiene habits for a long time;
- Those who have a family history of gum disease;
- Diabetics: uncontrolled diabetes can compromise immunity making diabetics moreprone to gum disease;
- Those who have weakened immune systems (due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS or those receiving treatments such as chemotherapy, high blood pressure medication or medication for epilepsy;
- People suffering from malnutrition;
- People who are overly stressed.
How can I prevent myself from developing gum disease?
- Brush your teeth twice a day (once before you go to bed at night and one other time during the day);
- Floss once a day;
- Develop good eating habits: eat less sugary food and drinks;
- Regular dental check-ups: you should aim to visit your dentist at least once every six months. This will ensure that any problems are detected and treated early. If you are a smoker or a diabetic your dentist may advise you to visit him/her more regularly in order to closely monitor the health of your teeth and gums. Regular dental check-ups will allow your dentist to thoroughly clean your teeth and remove and hardened plaque/tartar. Your dentist will also have an opportunity to advise you on how to improve your oral hygiene.
What if I already have gum disease?
If you think you might have gum disease you should visit your dentist as soon as possible: the existing condition needs to be treated in addition to taking steps to improve your oral health.
Visit Smile Studio for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. Our dentists may need to take x-rays to see if there are signs of gum disease. X-rays will help our dentists determine the best treatment plan for you. Save your teeth by calling us on 020 44 00 62 | 0711 279 03 to book your appointment.