We all learn to care for our teeth from a very early age, with most people in the U.K avowing that they brush twice a day. However, keeping up good oral health isn’t just about caring for your teeth, but your gums too. Millions of adults across the country are yet to attend a hygienist visit for the first time, putting them at great risk of developing gum disease. Here, we explore the important of oral hygiene and what can be done if gum disease strikes.
Good gum health = good general health
It’s now widely known that bad oral hygiene can have a devastating impact on your general health. Problems that can occur as a result of periodontal disease (advanced gum disease) include:
Periodontitis is linked to higher rates of heart disease, because poor oral hygiene increases the risk of a bacterial infection making it to the bloodstream, spreading to the heart valves. This can even lead to a heart attack, which can be fatal.
Chronic disease (diabetes and stroke)
As periodontitis causes your blood sugar levels to rise (as there is increased amounts of sugar in your saliva), this can make diabetes hard to control. As inflamed and bleeding gums change how blood and oxygen flows to the brain, stroke is twice as likely in people who have these symptoms.
The consequences of unhealthy gums for your teeth
Even if you’re the most diligent brusher and flosser in the world, without visits to the hygienist to maintain good oral hygiene, you can’t hope to give yourself the best possible chance at retaining your natural teeth for life.
Unhealthy gums that become inflamed, that bleed, and that suffer from advanced gum disease can lead to the bone in your jaw from becoming damaged. This causes small spaces to appear between the gum and the tooth, loosening the teeth and causing them to fall out.
How is gum disease prevented?
Gum disease and tooth loss as a result of gum disease, is actually entirely preventable. With regular visits to the hygienist to remove plaque along your gum line so that inflammation does not occur, there’s every possibility that you retain your own natural teeth, for life.
As plaque can’t be removed through brushing, having a scale and polish performed by your hygienist every 6 months, is crucial, as it will only multiply and run the risk of causing disease. During a scale and polish, your hygienist will use special instruments to remove the plaque (and tartar if this is present) from your gum line. Not only does this process significantly reduce the possibility of developing gum disease, it makes for fresher breath and supports your overall general health, as we mentioned earlier in the blog.
Never forget to floss
Neglecting to floss means you’re missing out on cleaning a third of your tooth surfaces. Flossing reaches the nooks and crannies in between your teeth that brushing cannot target. Food particles can easily become stuck in these gaps, multiply, and cause gum disease and discolouration. Flossing at least once a day (or ideally after every meal) will prevent stains in-between your teeth and prevent food particles from creating plaque along the gum line.
Eat gum-healthy foods
We all know that diet has a huge impact on physical health, and there are a number of foods you can eat that will help you sustain good gum health. These include:
Fresh fruit and veg: crunchy fruit and vegetables are full of fibre that helps to keep teeth clean, acting as a kind of natural tooth brush! Vitamin C-rich fruit and veg will also help protect gums and other tissues from the risk of cell damage and bacterial infection.
Dairy products: calcium-rich foods are known for supporting good dental health, but they also help with other facets of your oral health, including your gums. Calcium helps to keep your jawbone strong, which can help to keep gum disease at bay.
Tea: tea is rich in polyphenols, which have a number of health benefits including helping to manage blood pressure levels and to maintain good circulation – some researchers have also said they help to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. These polyphenols also prevent the type of bacteria that causes plaque, reducing inflammation of tissues like the gums.
Whole grains: as whole grains are full of vitamin B and iron, they help to keep your gums healthy. A good portion of whole grains can also reduce the risk of gum disease, as they help the body process blood sugar more effectively.
How is gum disease treated?
There are a number of strategies to treat gum disease, and these will vary depending on the patient’s unique situation. Whilst one person might simply need to make some lifestyle changes to curb gingivitis (early stage gum disease), others may need more complex intervention to have their periodontal pockets (the pockets your gums sit in) cleaned.
State-of-the-art hygiene facilities at Cliftonville Dental
Here at Cliftonville Dental, we’ve invested in one of the most sophisticated tools for diagnosing and aiding in the treatment of gum disease. Using the Florida Probe system, we’re able to measure periodontal pockets with an excellent degree of accuracy, which means treatment can begin earlier, even during the stages of gum disease where symptoms aren’t easy to spot.
If you would like to book in for a routine hygienist appointment, or you’re a new patient looking for a reputable dentist in Northampton, please contact us and our friendly reception team can book you in.