Gum Health – Getting The Basics Right

Spending a little more time taking care of our gums will pay dividends – here’s why….

Oral hygiene equipmentHow healthy are your gums? Do you pay them much attention or even give them much thought at all? Well, if you don’t, you really should. Most of us take time to look after our teeth, probably having experienced toothache at some point in our lives.

Our gums are less often considered and it may even be thought that they will just look after themselves, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

Some of our Wickford and Rayleigh patients have reacted with surprise when told that they have gum disease. This is understandable, especially in the earlier stages where the symptoms may not be too pronounced. Some gum disease symptoms build up so slowly that we take things like some tenderness of our gums as being ‘normal’. The fact is though that your gum health is important and our team at the Cygnet Dental Practice can play a role in helping you look after them.

Why is good gum health important?

As with any part of our anatomy, we should always strive for good health. If we don’t, we may pay a price for it and the same thing applies to our gums. The disease itself can display some unpleasant symptoms which we will look at shortly. Ultimately though, it can lead to tooth loss if left to progress to an advanced stage.

What causes gum disease?

Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by harmful bacteria produced in the mouth. With good oral care, this is controlled fairly easily but if we let our cleaning regimen slip and/or partake in activities such as smoking which make it more likely, the number of bacteria will grow and start to attack the gums. If not treated, it can go on to progress below the gum line and can also damage the roots of the teeth and even the bone surrounding it. When this happens our teeth can become loose and, ultimately, fall out.

What symptoms should I look for?

Ideally, you shouldn’t wait for symptoms to appear before taking action. Prevention is important here and ongoing care, both at home and by our dental hygienist, is key to having healthy gums. If this hasn’t been the case though and you are noticing one or more of the following symptoms, you may have gum disease and it is time to seek the help from your local Wickford dental practice.

  1. Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
  2. Sore, inflamed or tender gums
  3. Discomfort when you chew your food
  4. Loose or sensitive teeth
  5. Persistent bad breath that isn’t caused by diet
  6. Receding gums that cause your teeth to appear longer

It should be said that although these are common symptoms of gum disease, they need not necessarily be present and being symptom free is not a reason to neglect your gums.

Keeping them healthy

So, where do we start in making sure that our gums are healthy?

The first thing that you should do is to make sure that when you brush your teeth, both morning and night, that you are also cleaning your gums. This doesn’t mean just ‘flat brushing’ them, but ensuring that the bristles are at a slight angle that helps them reach below the gum line, removing food and bacteria from those places. Make sure that your toothbrush is no more than 3 months old too. Soft and worn bristles are less effective.

The next thing to do is to buy some dental floss. There are many brands on the market and you may need a bit of trial and error to find the best one for you but any will be beneficial in the meantime. You should use floss to clean between your teeth and also at the back of the rear teeth which are hard places for a brush to reach. This simple additional action can make a real difference to your oral health and our hygienist will be happy to demonstrate the best way to use floss correctly.

Make sure that you don’t smoke and/or drink alcohol to excess. Both of these habits can lead to an increase in bacteria, often related to a dry mouth. Stay well hydrated as well to help flush some bacteria away.

Finally, seek help at the Cygnet Dental Practice. Our oral hygienist Vicki Fay, can offer help and guidance on ways that you can improve your gum and oral health in general. In addition to any advice that might be given, she will perform a non invasive treatment called a scale and polish. This is a painless three stage process that removes hardened bacteria and minerals from the teeth and gum line which is known as ‘tartar’. This is impossible to remove yourself with regular brushing and seeing our hygienist will really get your gum health right on track.

With newly cleaned teeth and gums, we are sure that you will notice a significant improvement in the way that they feel and also, possibly, in the appearance of your teeth. This is because the final stage of the process which uses a high speed brush, can also remove some staining from the tooth surface.

Can you honestly say that you do all that you can to look after your gum health? If not, why not make a start now by booking a hygienist appointment at our Wickford dental clinic by calling us on 01268 733078. Our team will be pleased to take you call and book an appointment for you.