27th September 2018
The signs of gum disease
Gum disease is incredibly common in the UK, with most adults suffering some form of it in one of its extremities. It’s very common but also very preventable, which makes its worsening even more worrisome. Gum disease begins with gingivitis, its most mild and easily treatable form, but it can soon worsen into the formidable periodontitis and threaten tooth loss. Because gum disease is so easily preventable and therefore shouldn’t be as worryingly common as it is, we’d like to share some knowledge with you on the signs, causes, and how to prevent it.
The symptoms of gum disease
The beginnings of gum disease are symptoms experienced by a lot of adults and are quite mild, so they often go unnoticed or their warnings unheeded. The every-day symptoms of gingivitis include red, puffy, and swollen gums that could be receding from the tooth. Sensitivity to touch, brushing, and eating comes hand-in-hand with this swelling, as does bleeding easily when brushing, and the build-up of bacteria contributes to bad breath. These symptoms may appear mild or nothing to take serious notice of, but this early stage can quickly worsen when proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained. Because these symptoms are incredibly common they can often go unnoticed or not heeded as the warning that they are. In both cases, you should definitely pay attention.
How gum disease develops
The accumulation of bacterial plaque between and around the teeth is the leading cause of gum disease. Dental plaque builds up when bacteria try to stick to the smooth and lubricated surface of the teeth, which can not only eat away at your enamel but also affect your gums. The presence of excessive plaque triggers a protective response from the immune system, leading it to sometimes break down and attack the affected gum tissue. When this occurs, our teeth lose support at their foundations and become loose and unstable. We could lose our teeth altogether at this point! Left unchecked, plaque hardens in tartar that must be professionally removed lest it irritate the gums further. Tartar collects at the base of teeth, right on top of the gums, which causes inflammation and sensitivity. Your gums will become sensitive, bleed, and risk recession from your tooth.
Other causes, lifestyle choices, and risk factors
Besides improper dental hygiene and irregular cleaning, there are other ways that gum disease can rear its head. Changes in hormone levels during puberty, the menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy can lead to gums becoming more sensitive and raising the risk of inflammation. Some diseases, like cancer, diabetes, and HIV are linked to higher risk of developing gum disease. Even some medications can affect your gum health, especially if your saliva flow is reduced or disrupted. Smoking, ageing, and a poor diet or lack of Vitamin-C have also been recognised as aiding the development of gum disease.
Preventing gum disease
At-home care and cleaning are essential to maintaining your gums’ health. Brushing twice a day, flossing once a way, and using antiseptic mouthwash all contribute to healthy gums. You may find that an electric toothbrush might be right for you when cleaning your teeth, too. Professional cleaning and hygiene therapies, such as those available at Blossom Dental in York, will help maintain your gums and oral hygiene too.
Gum disease is incredibly common and, ironically, incredibly preventable. Armed with this knowledge and our assistance, your gums should continue to live happily and healthily. Book your next appointment with Blossom Dental by calling 01904 654889 or enquire online today.