Woking dental hygienist, Shamini Ravichandra, explains why you should look after your gum health
It is probably fair to say that when people think about common dental problems, they tend to think of tooth decay, and, for the more nervous amongst you perhaps, root canal treatment. If asked this question, few are likely to say gum disease; yet gum disease is a serious and common oral health issue that sometimes gets ignored.
The reality is that gum disease, and especially as it reaches the more advanced stage known as periodontitis, can cause a lot of damage and can easily lead to tooth loss if not treated in time. There are also an increasing number of reports available that link gum disease with other general medical health issues such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even Covid 19 ( https://www.dentistry.co.uk/2020/08/10/gum-disease-covid-complications/ ).
Given the seriousness of this issue, it is important for patients of Synergy Parkside to understand more about the possible symptoms of gum disease as well as how to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
It is worth noting that not all cases of gum disease necessarily show obvious symptoms. This is one of the many good reasons why you should see your dental hygienist and Woking dentist on a regular basis, but more on that later.
There are a number of symptoms that are common when gingivitis is present. These include:
- Red and/or swollen gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Gums that are tender and sensitive
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
Not all of these need to be noticeable for the condition to be present, and as gingivitis is an earlier stage of gum disease, it is essential that you don’t ignore it and seek treatment straight away. Although gingivitis is best prevented, it can usually be managed and often reversed with treatment and an improvement in your home oral care.
Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of gum disease and is consequently more serious. Many of the symptoms are similar to that of gingivitis but may be more pronounced.
Symptoms of periodontitis include those associated with gingivitis, but you may also notice these additional ones:
- Areas of pus between the teeth and gums
- Wobbly or loose teeth
- Loss of teeth
- Pain when chewing food
- A change in your bite
One of the key differences between gingivitis and periodontitis is that whilst gingivitis attacks the gums, periodontitis also attacks the roots of the teeth and the surrounding bone around them. Because of the location of this problem, it becomes impossible to clean efficiently at home and even the standard ‘scale and polish’ offered by the hygienist will not suffice. Once the roots of your teeth and bone have become affected, this can usually only be treated with a root scaling procedure. This is an invasive treatment and will be carried out by a suitably qualified specialist dentist, not by the hygienist. Whilst this is the only real way to save your teeth at this late stage, there is also no guarantee of success.
Preventing gum disease
Although the above might seem a little scary, the reality is that gum disease is easily avoided by most of us. Others, such as diabetics and those with a lower immune response will need to monitor their oral health more carefully and should seek the advice of the Synergy Parkside team.
So, how can we prevent gum disease? The good news is that it is relatively easy by following a few important steps.
Brush your teeth both morning and night using a toothbrush no more than 3 months old. Angle the bristles so that they reach below the gums lines and consider a toothpaste that is designed to help prevent gum disease
Use dental floss. One of the most neglected areas is the space between our teeth where bristles often can’t reach. Dental floss is inexpensive and, with a little practice, is a great way to remove food and bacteria that has become trapped between your teeth.
Make sure to see a hygienist on a six monthly basis, and possibly more frequently for those more vulnerable to gum disease. We can not only offer help and advice on ways that you can improve your home oral care, but can professionally clean your teeth using equipment that removes even hardened bacteria from the teeth and the gum line.
If you follow these 3 simple rules, you will be well on your way to having a healthy mouth, along with the fresher smelling breath that comes with it!
If you have noticed any problems with your gums, such as those mentioned above, please contact us as soon as you can so that we can help to reverse or manage any problems that you have. Even if you have no symptoms; if you don’t already see a hygienist, it is strongly recommended that you do so. You can make an appointment to see one of the friendly hygienist team at our Woking dental clinic by calling us on 01483 766355.
Shamini Ravichandra, Dental Hygienist at Synergy Parkside – GDC number 254283