The thought of losing a tooth is scary but the good news is that with the right care, it’s completely unavoidable.
Regular visits to the dental hygienist not only keeps your teeth and gums healthy, it also prevents periodontal (gum) disease from developing.
Up to 20% of us have immune systems which overreact to the bad bacteria in our mouths. The result is that the bone and tissue that surround the tooth is attacked and broken down and its why gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss amongst adults.
Gum disease is unpredictable, can occur sporadically and we often don’t even feel it coming on. Even if you think you have healthy teeth and gums, it’s important to get your teeth cleaned by a hygienist at least once a year because they will be able to reach areas your toothbrush can’t as well as remove any stubborn plaque.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease falls into two categories:
Gingivitis – poor cleaning techniques and a lack of brushing can result in bacterial growth which causes swelling (inflammation) and bleeding of the gums.
Periodontal disease – this occurs when gingivitis has been left untreated and all the tissues become affected.
As the condition gets worse, the bone of the jaw is lost and the teeth become loose and eventually fall out or have to be removed. If you think you may have gum disease, visit your dentist as soon as possible – more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than tooth decay but if caught early enough, your tooth can be saved.
What causes gum disease?
Aside from not brushing your teeth properly or often enough, there are a number of factors which can contribute to gum disease:
Smoking – a number of studies have found that smokers are more prone to gum disease because of the increased levels of tartar in their mouth. If you smoke, your gums are also more susceptible to disease and you are likely to suffer more bone loss.
Stress – when our immune system is stressed, it’s difficult to fight off the bacteria that causes gum infections.
Not going to the dentist – avoiding the dentist is a lifestyle choice that puts you at risk of contracting diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums.
Diabetes – diabetics are more prone to gum disease compared to those who don’t have it.
What are the signs of gum disease?
Red, swollen or tender gums
Bleeding when you brush, floss or even eat
Your gums start to recede or pull away from the teeth (your teeth may look longer than they used to)
Your teeth become loose
Pus between your gums and teeth
Sores in your mouth
You have noticed a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
As well as losing teeth, gum disease can lead to a number of serious consequences including heart disease, stroke and giving birth prematurely.
Gum disease can be treated and controlled with the help of your dental hygienist. If you would like more information or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call us on 01635-45876.