Common gum diseases, causes and how to prevent

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Common gum diseases, causes and how to prevent

Common gum diseases, causes and how to prevent

It’s estimated that around 40% of people are living or have lived with gum disease, that’s a shocking amount. If you have gum problems or unhealthy gums it can impact you in multiple ways. But can you improve gum health? If you currently have gum disease or gingivitis, do not fear there are ways we can improve our gum health. Let’s get straight into it.

What is gum disease or gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild or early form of gum disease. Most people with gum disease may have ad gingivitis which has progressed to gum disease. Gingivitis is most noticeable through the way it causes gum inflammation, and is caused by bacterial build-up around the gum line. When bacteria builds around the gumline it can lead to gum infection. Most people suffer from gingivitis at some point in their life, and when you have mild symptoms it can be really easy to ignore, but not getting the correct treatment can lead to further issues. The good news is that gingivitis is easily rectified, and your tooth, jaw and gums should be unaffected at this stage.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is when plaque and bacteria build up causing the gum to pull away from the tooth. When these pockets under the gum line fill with bacteria and become infected it causes gum disease. This is much more serious and needs urgent attention as it can cause permanent damage. When your teeth lose the support of your gums it is common for them to become loose. You may be referred to a specialist for periodontitis treatment where they will perform a deep clean, especially focusing on the pockets under the gum line.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  1. Purple or red gums
  2. Gum inflammation
  3. Gum recession
  4. Bleeding gums when brushing or at any other time
  5. Your teeth are loose
  6. You have bad breath
  7. Sore or painful gums
  8. You can visibly see the gum pulling away from the tooth

That’s the symptoms of gum disease covered, now let’s get onto what may cause gum disease and how to prevent it.

There can be many reasons why someone may get gum disease, but here are some of the common reasons.
  1. Poor dental hygiene. Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup, if you have poor dental hygiene your risk of gum disease increases massively.
  2. Smoking interferes with normal cell function within your gums and therefore can leave you with weakened gums.
  3. Hormonal shifts, such as pregnancy can affect your gum health. Although it’s not a guarantee that your oral health will suffer during pregnancy or hormonal shifts you must take additional care during these times and monitor your oral health.
  4. Medications. Some types of medication can affect your saliva production, where there is a reduction in saliva it can increase the bacteria build up in your mouth. A dry mouth is unfortunately a great environment for bacteria to flourish and therefore medications that reduce saliva production can leave you more prone to gum disease. A great tip is to keep hydrated, drinking lots of water will help you rid your mouth of some bacteria.
  5. Misaligned teeth. When your teeth are misaligned it can be harder to brush your teeth and practise interdental brushing effectively. Regular hygiene appointments are useful in this case.
  6. Nutrition can play a role in healthy gums, you may be more prone to gum disease if your diet is lacking in vitamin C and high in sugars.
Now, how can you prevent gum disease?
  1. Make sure you are visiting your dentist and hygienist often. Visiting a specialist to assist you in maintaining excellent oral health will help massively. If you do have gingivitis or early signs of gum disease you may be referred to a periodontist who will assist you with gum recovery and professional cleaning. This is nothing to be worried about.
  2. Maintaining good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene is the best way to reduce gum disease, ensure you’re brushing at least twice a day and flossing.
  3. Maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Our diet affects all parts of our bodies including our gum health, so make sure you reduce that sugar and eat more vegetables!
  4. Stop smoking. While we understand it’s a big ask, ditching the habit can have huge benefits for you, especially if you have active gum disease or gingivitis.

To summarise, if you’re wondering, is gum disease curable? We want to reassure you that gum disease can be cured and managed, with the right medical intervention. But if you do have gum disease, treatment is essential. Periodontitis treatment is available both privately and through the NHS. Ensuring that you stay up to date with routine check-ups and hygiene appointments will keep you well on top of your oral health.

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