From a young age, we’re taught to care for our teeth as they come through, and to continue this as our adult teeth begin to arrive. However, our gums are part of our oral anatomy that often go overlooked. Historically, gums have never got the same street cred as teeth and it’s worrying, when you consider that gum disease is the most predominant reason for tooth loss in adults. In this blog, we’re drawing attention to the unsung part of the mouth that is your gums and how you can make sure they remain a good home to your teeth.
The gum/tooth relationship
As dentists, the relationship between teeth and gums is something that crosses our minds every single day. But if you’re not a dentist, why would it?
The truth is, you should really be affording the same attention to your gums as you do your teeth. Without healthy gums, your teeth are ill-fated, because it’s your gums that provide your teeth a place to anchor. When your gums become inflamed due to gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease) and this goes untreated, periodontitis (advanced gum disease) can set in. The detrimental effects of periodontitis include damage to the soft tissues and jawbone, which will cause teeth to loosen, fall out, or require extraction.
How do I know if I have poor gum health?
One of the frustrating things about the development of poor gum health, is that symptoms don’t arrive until an advanced stage. Symptoms that should cause immediate concern and warrant a hygienist appointment ASAP including bleeding gums, sensitivity, swelling on the inside of outside of the mouth, gums that are a deep red colour, ulcers that aren’t healing, and tenderness.
How can I brush up on my gum health?
As we mentioned in the previous section, symptoms of gum disease often don’t display until the eleventh hour, when complex treatment may be the only way to salvage your oral health. It’s for this reason that a preventive mind set is imperative when considering the health of your gums. Knowing the part that diet plays in creating plaque is also something that you should endeavour to understand.
Eating (particularly eating sugar) causes the bacteria in your mouth to start working to break it down. A knock-on effect of this is that acid is created in the process, which destroys tooth enamel, the protective coating that shields your teeth from the risk of decay. The more often your mouth has to do this, the more likely you are to suffer from plaque build up overtime. Limiting eating to meal times and avoiding sugar-heavy foods will increase the life of your tooth enamel and reduce your chance of cavities.
Drinking plenty of water after each time you eat will help cleanse your mouth of food particles and bacteria. It’s also recommended that you floss at least once a day (after your evening meal) to make sure you don’t have any food particles stuck between your teeth that will cause decay and bad breath.
Poor gum health and poor general health: is there a link?
You can be sure there is. Many studies have found tangible links between poor gum health and general health problems including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more recently, Alzheimer’s. Because gum disease is caused by the long term presence of plaque, when it reaches a stage when it enter into the bloodstream, it damages blood vessels in the heart and the brain.
Please don’t be alarmed reading this. Even if you have reached an advanced stage of gum disease we can help. We understand it can be hard coming to the dentist if it’s been a while, but Cliftonville Dental is a judgement-free zone where the team have a sincere desire and instinct to help others and make them well. As health professionals, we take our role very seriously and through carefully planned, on-going treatment, we can reverse even the most severe cases of gum disease.
It’s possible that in some cases tooth removal is in the interests of a patient’s health if their condition has passed a certain point, and we offer a range of tooth replacement treatments (including dental implants the most premium of tooth replacement treatments) to address this. If cost is a barrier, we can also offer finance options to help you pay for your chosen treatment.
State-of-the-art Florida Probe at Cliftonville Dental
We believe our patients deserve the finest quality of care, which is why we only invest in the best equipment. The Florida Probe is a highly sophisticated piece of industry-leading technology that’s extremely effective at detecting and diagnosing gum disease, and uses advanced software to produce precise, computerised diagnoses swiftly and easily. Based on the data it provides us with, we can create an individualised treatment map, that aims to unearth problems before they develop to an advanced stage.
If you’re looking for a reputable dentist in the Northampton and Rothersthorpe areas, look no further than Cliftonville Dental. Book yourself in for a routine hygienist appointment to keep the development of gum disease at bay, by contacting our friendly Northampton reception team today.