What causes gum disease?
The early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, starts with Plaque. Plaque is a soft, sticky colourless film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. The plaque builds up and the bacteria produce toxins and enzymes that can irritate the gums. Gums can become red, swollen, sensitive and can bleed on provocation.
What happens if gingivitis is not treated?
In time, the build-up of plaque can move below the gum-line. This causes an inflammation which forms pockets, that is, space between the teeth and gums. It also destroys the underlying bone. This advanced stage is known as periodontitis. As more bone gets destroyed, the tooth can loosen and eventually fall out or may need to be removed. Who can get gum disease? Although periodontal diseases can occur at any age, they usually affect adults. As many as 90% of people above 40 years suffer from some form of gum disease, making it the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
How do I know if I have it?
Some early warning signs of 8impending gum disease are: Red, swollen or tender gums. Gums that bleed while brushing Pus between teeth and gums. Change in the way teeth fit together. Loose or shifting teeth. Bad breath or bad taste. Advanced gum disease, referred to as periodontitis, may require surgery to save teeth. Only very advanced stages are incurable. Should you notice any of the above signs and symptoms, visit your dentist at least twice a year thereafter.
How do I prevent the onset of gum disease?
Certain preventive measures are known to prevent the re-setting of plaque at the gum-line and therefore, reduce the risk of gum disease.
Brush your teeth twice a day. Hold a soft brush at the fum line at 45. Brush in a circular motion to massage the gums and an up-down motuion to dislodge plaque. Do this gently on the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth. Replace your brush every 3 or 4 months.
Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth. Take about 18″ of floss and wrap most of it around your middle finger and the rest around middle finger of the other hand, leaving a 2″ length between them. Using your thumb and forefinger, gently scrape the side of each tooth away from the gum.
Rinse your moth with water thoroughly after each meal. Rinse for a minute everyday with mouthwash.
Eat a balanced diet, especially one rich in dietary fibre. Fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and fish are recommended.
Visit your dentist at least twice a year. He is trained to recognize early symptoms of gum disease offer curative procedures.