Periodontal Disease, Prevention And Treatment, And Why It Matters
Keeping your gums healthy is as important as your teeth say our Bedford dental team.
From a very young age we are taught to take good care of our teeth, making sure to brush them twice a day and as far as possible, trying not to overindulge in sugary food products. This is good general advice and it is also very helpful when parents encourage their children to look after their gums better too.
Of course, there is every likelihood that some parents do not fully understand the importance of looking after their gums. If this is the case, they are unlikely to pass this important information on to their own children.
The dangers of periodontal disease
The two main stages of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis. The first of these is relatively common, and it is likely that we will all have it at some point in our lives, at least to some degree. When we are ill, for example, we may not clean our teeth as well as we usually do, and bacteria may increase during this time. In many cases though, things will return to normal once we resume brushing correctly.
Gum disease can present a number of different symptoms, although these do not have to be present and you could have symptom free problems. Some of the most common though, are sore gums, or gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. Bad breath is also commonly associated with both gingivitis and especially, periodontitis.
Avoiding gum disease
Like any medical or dental problem, it is far better to avoid them in the first place if this is at all possible. Keeping gum disease at bay is not overly difficult, though some groups, such as diabetics, may find it harder to ward off. What it mainly requires is care and diligence when cleaning your teeth.
Most of us brush our teeth without thinking too deeply about it, focusing perhaps, on the surface enamel of the teeth. Whilst this is important, gum disease starts at the gum line, with bacteria often collecting in the gum pockets that we might miss when we brush. To make sure that these pockets are cleaned, it is important to angle the brush so that the bristles get into these spaces, reducing the number of bacteria in there.
It is worth emphasising again, that the use of dental floss is very important in keeping our gums clean. If you don’t know how to do this, or find it difficult, please ask the hygienist at The Dental Centre Bedford to demonstrate how to do this correctly.
Finally, even if you see your dentist on a regular basis, you should also make sure to see the hygienist twice a year too. A routine scale and polish procedure will help to keep your teeth and gums in great shape, and avoid the potentially serious problems that gum disease can bring.
Is it that serious?
Whilst gingivitis can usually be treated relatively straightforwardly, with a course of professional cleans and a better general cleaning regimen, the same cannot be said of periodontitis. When gum disease reaches this stage, it also attacks the bone in which the teeth are held. If this is not treated, the teeth will become loose and may even fall out.
When it has advanced to this stage, specialist dentistry is sometimes needed in the form of root planing, which is carried out by our Bedford periodontist, Dr Mario Veltri. This is a much more invasive treatment than that carried out by the hygienist and will be performed using a local anaesthetic. Whilst this can successfully treat the problem, it is not always the case, and some tooth loss may be inevitable, depending on the extent of the problem. So it is clearly far better to avoid your gum health deteriorating to this stage!
Related health issues
If the possibility of sore, inflamed gums, or even tooth loss, isn’t enough to encourage you to improve the way that you take care of your gums, perhaps attention should be paid to the increasing number of reports linking gum disease to other serious health issues. A recent report has found that, in addition to already established links between gum disease and heart diseases and also Alzheimer’s, it is now also thought that it may be linked to pancreatic cancers too. Even though many of these links are not yet officially established, the increasing amount of research indicates, at the very least, that it is worth taking more care.
If you live in Bedfordshire and have not previously thought much about how healthy your gums are, this could be a good time to do so. Making an appointment to see our dental hygienist is an excellent place to start. They will not only clean your teeth but will also offer personal advice on what you need to do to improve the health of your gums and mouth overall.
To make your appointment, please call The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868.