Gum disease is a condition that occurs when the gums in your mouth become sore, swollen and sometimes infected. Gum disease will often present as bleeding gums and your gums feeling and appearing increasingly delicate. It is a common condition that most adults will experience at some point in their lives. Whilst gum disease is common, if not treated correctly it could turn into something more serious, which can result in permanent damage to your gums, and sometimes even tooth loss. The best ways to look after your teeth, much like those which are key to looking after your dentures involve good, sound oral hygiene.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
There are various stages of gum disease, the first of these being gingivitis. In this stage of the disease, some people might not even notice they have it. Others will experience a variety of different symptoms, including the following:
- Bleeding gums (after flossing or brushing)
- Red, swollen gums
- Pain in their gums
It is important to note that healthy gums should be firm, pink, and hold your teeth in place securely. It is not normal for your gums to bleed unless there is significant trauma inflicted, which may be a sign of gingivitis. If gingivitis isn’t treated, periodontitis may then develop, which is a much more severe stage of gum disease.
Periodontitis, can affect tissues that help to hold the teeth in place, and can cause them to loosen and potentially fall out. Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Gum abscesses
- Unpleasant tastes in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s vital that you go to your dentist, as they can help to prevent the condition from worsening. If you end up losing teeth as result of periodontitis, you may then need to seek dentures and dental implants or other more cosmetic solutions, once the underlying issue and infection is sorted out.
What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a variety of different issues; however, improper oral hygiene is often the cause. A build-up of plaque is usually the cause of gum disease, which is a combination of bacteria and the saliva from your mouth. Over time, the plaque in your mouth can break down the surface of your tooth, making it decay. The substance can also inflame your gums and make them sore.
Plaque can be removed by properly brushing your teeth. When you do not properly brush your teeth, you put yourself at risk of developing gum disease.
Whilst practising proper oral hygiene can be an effective way to prevent gum disease, it is not the only factor that increases your risk of it. Other things that can make you more at risk of developing gum disease include:
By identifying areas of your life that make you more at risk of gum disease, you can help to manage them (e.g. by quitting smoking) to further lower this risk.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
It is important to protect your oral health to prevent gum disease from happening. You can usually treat mild cases by practising good oral hygiene, this being to brush your teeth twice a day and regularly floss or use inter-dental brushes. Another way in which to help keep gum disease at bay is to make sure you have regular check-ups at the dentist. Some dentists recommend you visit once every six months, although, you may be advised to visit more or less for certain situations (e.g. after just having dentures fitted).
A trip to the dentist not only helps you to rule out any issues with your oral health, but can also show you how to properly clean your teeth and prevent build-ups of plaque. When visiting the dentist, they will assess your situation and advise you on when to book your next appointment for. For those who have healthy teeth and gums, and have never suffered from gum disease, you might only be expected to visit annually.
However, for those who have suffered with gum disease and other related problems in the past, you may find your dentist wants you to check in more frequently. This is so they can monitor your situation effectively.
How to Treat Gum Disease
One of the most effective ways to treat gum disease is by practising good oral hygiene. It’s recommended that you brush your teeth for around 2 minutes before you go to sleep, and again at another time throughout the day.
You should also use toothpaste containing fluoride, helping to prevent tooth decay, as well as flossing regularly prior to brushing the teeth. You should also visit your dentist if you’re concerned about gum disease, as they can properly assess your situation and advise you on the best course of action for treatment. Whilst oral hygiene is necessary for everyone to maintain, more severe cases of gum disease might have to undergo additional treatments. This can include surgery, and in some cases, tooth removal.
If you have to have affected teeth removed due to gum disease, it might be worth exploring the variety of different available false teeth options. There are a range of different dentures that might help you to regain confidence after losing your teeth, including, partial dentures, flexible dentures, and immediate dentures.