Preventing and treating gum disease

Gum disease is a very common problem - and also a very preventable one. If you’ve struggled with sore or bleeding gums then this could be an early sign of gum disease that you need to take steps to treat to ensure it doesn’t escalate. There are lots of simple ways to stop gum disease from taking hold - and to treat it if it does - including regular appointments with your dentist.

What is gum disease?

It’s an infection in the mouth that is caused by bacteria. One of the earliest signs of gum disease is gingivitis. This is characterised by bleeding, irritated, inflamed and sore gums, which tend to be especially noticeable when you're flossing or brushing your teeth. When gum disease gets to a more advanced stage it's called periodontitis and this can cause severe damage to the gums and the bones.

Preventing and treating gum disease

Make sure you have a healthy oral care routine. Gum disease usually creeps in as a result of a drop in our own personal oral healthcare standards. Basic steps include brushing, flossing and rinsing twice daily as well as brushing after meals and using an antibacterial mouthwash. A mouthwash can be especially useful with gum disease, as bacteria may hide above and below the gum line.

Have your teeth cleaned regularly. Scheduling regular visits to a hygienist will ensure that your teeth are as clean as they can possibly be. However, this also has another benefit - if you do have any of the early signs of gum disease the hygienist will be able to spot this. They can also provide advice on how to clean your teeth so that you can prevent problems arising in the future.

Don’t skip your check-ups. The purpose of dental check-ups is to give your dentist the opportunity to make sure that there are no potential issues in your mouth. If you’re skipping appointments, or just not making them, then gum disease could go unchecked for months or even years. Severe gum disease can seriously damage your gums and may even cause tooth loss. So, if you’re committed to preventing gum disease, regular check-ups are vital. Your dentist can also give you advice if you already have gum disease, helping you to eradicate the risk of further problems.

If you know you have gum disease, get help fast. The signs of advanced gum disease - such as seeing pus between your gums or constantly experiencing bad breath - should not be ignored. Many people experience embarrassment when this happens but it just means there is even more of a need to see your dentist quickly. No matter how advanced the gum disease there are always options, from surgery to using tissue regeneration to grow back lost bone.

There are many different options for preventing gum disease - and plenty of steps you can take at home. If you have gum disease, the sooner you get treatment for it the better.

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