Gum Disease, Prevention is Key
A number of serious dental and medical problems can result from poor oral hygiene – including periodontal disease. Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is a serious inflammatory disease of the support structures of the teeth. If oral hygiene is not maintained and plaque build-up occurs, it hardens to form tartar. This tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional, then irritates and inflames the gums, exacerbating the problem and damaging nearby bones and ligaments. It may also lead to bone and tooth loss.
Who’s At Risk For Gum Disease?
If you find it difficult to clean your teeth well, for example if you wear braces or dentures, or if you have irregularities in your teeth that you can’t reach with a toothbrush, seek the advice of your dentist. Keeping all the surfaces of your teeth and your gums clean is a must to prevent oral health problems including periodontal problems and your dentist can give you individual advice.
Other factors that raise your risk of gum disease include:
- Smoking. This reduces the amount of oxygen-carrying blood reaching the tissues. It also weakens the immune system making it harder for your body to fight infection. Smokers also have more dental plaque than non-smokers and this makes it easier and faster for gum disease to progress more rapidly. Around a third of gum disease in Australia is caused by smoking.
- Diabetes. Diabetes can reduce your body’s resistance to all types of infection, including oral infections.
- Conditions and medications that suppress your immune system. Conditions such as cancer and HIV/AIDS and the medications used to treat them can suppress the immune system and increase your risk of gum disease. Some of these medications reduce saliva flow, which can also be a risk. Saliva helps protect your teeth and gums from the bacteria that cause dental decay and periodontal diseases.
- Genetic susceptibility and ethnic background. It seems that some people are more prone to developing the condition than others, particularly people from certain ethnic backgrounds. This may be down to differences in diet between cultures, or it could also be due to genetic susceptibility to oral bacteria.
In all of these cases though, the main cause of the gum disease is the buildup of plaque.
How Do I know If I Have Gum Disease?
Infection and inflammation can progress without pain or noticeable symptoms. This is why regular visits to our Chinook Mall Office are necessary to maintain good oral health and avoid disease.
While the symptoms of gum disease can be subtle, the condition itself has warning signs. Visit us immediately if you notice any of the following signs of gum disease:
- Blood on toothbrush or dental floss
- Red, tender or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Constant bad breath
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
- Even if you are not experiencing any obvious symptoms, you may still have some form of gum disease. Only a professional dentist can recognise and determine the progression of gum disease.
How Can Chinook Mall Family Dental Help?
Preventing and treating gum conditions means your dentist or dental hygienist will take the time and pay attention to detail, when providing thorough scaling and cleaning, both above and below the gums. This is why treating gum disease is generally not about a quick “in-and-out” appointment.
Dr. Charchuk works with a qualified dental team who will look after your gum health and cleaning, providing optimal time, care and oral hygiene advice. Patients who have more advanced gum disease receive detailed gum examination and analysis, and may need stages of periodontal treatment care aiming to establish and maintain long term dental and gum health.
Following this, attending to your regular hygiene maintenance – usually every 6 months, but sometimes more often, is very important in maintaining periodontal health, along with excellent home care.
If you are concerned about your oral health or if you are showing signs of gum disease, contact us to book your consultation today.