Posted on: 11 August 2015
Regular visits to a dental clinic for routine check-ups by your dentist can certainly go a long way to keeping your pearly whites in good shape. But did you know that if your gums aren't healthy, you could risk losing your teeth? So, what causes gum disease? How can you tell if your gums are affected? How can you prevent it and what can your dentist do to help? Read on to find out more.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is usually caused by a build-up of harmful bacteria on your teeth, but it can be triggered by a number of other contributing factors including:
- grinding the teeth
- some birth control tablets and antidepressants
- severe stress
You may also be prone to gum disease if your family has a history of it.
What are the signs of gum disease?
'Gingivitis' or inflammation of your gums is usually the first sign that gum disease may be starting. Although you won't experience pain, your gums might appear reddened, your gum line may recede, you could suffer from halitosis (bad breath), and you may have recurrent mouth ulcers. A common sign of gum disease is bleeding from your mouth when brushing your teeth.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the inflammation of the gums becomes worse. Infection can set in, affecting the deeper tissues in the gum that provide support to your teeth. As the gum line recedes, more bacteria enter the gums. Severe infection (periodontitis) can cause the bone in which the teeth sit to break down. When this happens, your teeth may become loose and could even fall out.
How can your dentist treat gum disease?
The dentist will carry out a deep-clean of your teeth (scaling) to get rid of any plaque lurking down inside the gum. He'll also check to make sure any fillings or crowns you have aren't loose, potentially allowing plaque to gather in pockets. You may have X-rays so that the dentist can see if you have suffered any damage to the bone in which your teeth sit.
How can you prevent gum disease?
To keep plaque at bay, brush your teeth each day with good quality fluoride toothpaste as recommended by your dentist. Clean your teeth in the morning when you first get up to remove any plaque that's formed overnight. Brush them again after eating to remove bits of food that might be trapped – a ready-made banquet for plaque-forming bacteria. Finally, clean your teeth before you go to bed to remove any lingering plaque that's accumulated during the day.
Twice daily, use dental floss to remove plaque from between your teeth, and rinse your mouth out afterwards with antiseptic mouth wash.
Attend your dental clinic regularly for a deep-clean scale and a check-up by your dentist.Share