Healthy gums are the essential foundation for healthy teeth, so naturally you’ll want them to be in the best possible shape. When plaque builds up on your teeth, this can cause your gums to become inflamed (gingivitis) and if left untreated, this can worsen so that it eventually affects the tissue and bone which support your teeth, leading to tooth loss. It’s not painful to have plaque build-up on your teeth, so what are the signs of gum disease, and how do you treat it?
Signs to look out for
Because this plaque build-up happens painlessly over time, there are other signs of gum disease to watch out for. These include:
- Sore, tender gums which bleed consistently when you touch them or brush your teeth
- Pain, and possibly blood, when flossing your teeth, due to the tender nature of your gums
- Gaps around your teeth and gums, or gums which are noticeably receding
- Bad breath
- Noticing a difference in your bite, or if you wear dentures, how they fit in your mouth
- In advanced cases, loosening teeth
If you don’t notice any of these symptoms, that doesn’t mean you can skip a trip to the dentist. Your regular check ups are essential for keeping on top of any developing issues and halting them in their tracks before they have time to turn into serious (and costly) problems. During a regular exam, we will conduct a clinical screening for untreated gum disease to assess any gum damage which may have already been caused.
How to treat gum disease
Regular check ups with your dentist will help to control plaque build-up and having your teeth cleaned to remove any tartar (hardened plaque) will also prevent the problem from worsening.
In between visits, make sure you are maintaining excellent oral hygiene standards, by adhering to the following advice:
- Brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash twice a day
- Mastering your brushing technique so that you brush in a sweeping upwards motion up from gums
- If you use an electric toothbrush, this can help to remove more plaque and can also massage your gums and stimulate blood flow at the same time
- Brushing between meals to reduce the amount of plaque which can build up
- Reducing snacking between meals so that your teeth are not under constant attack from acid and bacteria all day
- Eating lots of Vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes to feed your gums the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Note though that citrus foods have high acidity and care should be taken around their frequency, as they can damage the minerals in the enamel of your teeth.
- Smoking is bad news for your gums, so if you can cut down or even cut smoking out completely you’ll be doing your gums a favour.
- Try and avoid stress, as stress leads to inflammation and this can play havoc with your gums
- Know your family history – some people are more likely to inherit gum issues from their parents, so if your family have a history of gum problems, it’s possible that you could have them too.
If you have concerns about your gum health, or any other tooth complaint, why not make an appointment with one of our team and we can discuss a relevant treatment plan for you?