Where would your teeth be without your gums? Why are Healthy Gums Important?
More people lose teeth because of gum disease than tooth decay. The best way to avoid gum disease and tooth loss is to maintain healthy gums. That way the gum tissues which keep the teeth in place stay strong.
Did you Know?
- Gum Disease is the UK’s leading cause of tooth loss.
- 79% of over 35s suffer from gum disease
- Only 1 in 4 people with bleeding gums are concerned by it.
- In the UK, around 6% of people have lost all of their teeth.
Symptoms of Gum Disease can include:
- Red gums, rather than the usual healthy pink colour.
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums, for example, when you are brushing your teeth or bite into something hard like an apple.
- In severe cases, gums may bleed on their own.
Types of Gum Disease.
Gum Disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the gum tissue, which keeps our teeth in place. It is caused by plaque. Plaque is a sticky layer that collects on the surface of your teeth and gums and is made up of bacteria. If plaque is allowed to build up on teeth the bacteria can irritate the gums and cause inflammation (swelling). When plaque hardens it forms a layer, called tartar or calculus, on the teeth.
- Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Gums become red and swollen and may bleed easily when you brush your teeth. There is usually little or no pain. Looking after your teeth and gums better can help protect against gingivitis by helping maintain healthy gums.
- Mild or Early Periodontitis.Untreated gingivitis may lead to periodontitis. As plaque spreads and grows below the line where the gum joins the tooth, the tissues and bone that support your teeth can be broken down by the plaque bacteria and destroyed. This can cause your teeth to become separated from your gums (your dentist calls these ‘pockets.’), which can become infected.
- Advanced Periodontitis.If periodontitis is not treated, your teeth may become loose and have to be removed or they may fall out on their own. In fact, gum disease is the main reason people lose their teeth. Once gum disease gets to this stage, it can’t be reversed but you can prevent it from getting worse with the help of your dentist or hygienist and by improving the way you look after your teeth and gums.
Who can suffer from Gum Disease?
Around 90% of us will have gum disease at some point in our lives.
Gingivitis can affect anyone at any age. Some groups are more at risk of developing gum disease:
- People over 35
- Pregnant Women - Gums are often more sensitive and more susceptible to bleeding during pregnancy, due to changes in hormones. Women may experience symptoms of gum disease beginning in the second or third month of pregnancy, increasing in severity through the eighth month. During this time, some women may notice swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue.
- Partial Denture Wearers - If you have dentures you need to ensure that you clean your remaining natural teeth and denture thoroughly. The surface material of your denture, combined with the warmth of your mouth, can be an ideal environment for plaque bacteria to grow. Research shows that removable partial dentures can cause an increase in the accumulation of plaque bacteria that could lead to the progression of gum disease.
- Diabetics - When someone is suffering from diabetes, the blood vessel structure is altered. This may cause a reduction in the efficiency of the blood flow, which in turn may weaken the gums and bone, leaving them more prone to infections.
- Smokers - The gums of smokers are more susceptible to infection because of smoking and tobacco use causes a lack of oxygen in bloodstream, so reducing the flow of blood and nutrients to the gum tissues. This weakens the body’s defence mechanisms, making the gums more susceptible to infection.
- People who suffer from stress - Stress can make it more difficult for our bodies to fight gum disease and may also cause people to engage in habits that lead to gum disease such as smoking and forgetting to clean teeth properly.
At Dove Holistic Dental Centre we will check your gums to see how much they have been affected by gum disease. We will then clean your teeth thoroughly to remove any plaque and tartar, we may even decide to do a deeper clean of the roots of the teeth below the gum line, which cannot be reached with a toothbrush. This is called tooth planning, a procedure which cleans out the pockets, and removes plaque and tartar from the tooth roots.
Our hygienists will discuss the best ways for you to care for your oral health at home. This will help you in the fight against gum disease and tooth decay.