Gum disease is caused by a nasty infection that spreads to the roots of our teeth and gums. What makes it so gruesome is that it can cause our teeth to fall out if it’s not treated in time. If you’re showing signs of gum disease, it’s definitely worth seeing a hygienist or periodontist (this is a fancy word for gum disease dentist!) as soon as you can.
Causes of gum disease include:
Plaque is a sticky film that covers the teeth. It’s full of bacteria that attack our poor tooth enamel and gum tissue, leading to both tooth decay and gum disease. But we can beat plaque by brushing twice a day and using floss or inter-dental brushes and mouthwash on a regular basis. Phew!
Smoking is a real bad guy when it comes to causing gum disease. It stops our bodies’ natural healing processes from working properly, which can lead to sore gums and lots of other grisly problems!
Unfortunately, about 30% of the population are prone to gum disease through genetics. But if you’re one of these people, gum disease can still be avoided if you pop to your dentist for a check-up every now and then and follow a good oral hygiene routine.
Our hormones tend to go all over the place during pregnancy and this can sometimes make gum disease more likely. It’s important to keep brushing, flossing and mouthwashing during pregnancy, as well as going for regular check-ups.
Some medicines, for example anti-depressants and the contraceptive pill, can have side-effects that trouble our oral health. Let your dentist know what medications you’re taking so they can keep an eye on your gums.
Grinding your teeth puts extra pressure on your teeth and can weaken the tissue around them. Don’t worry if you are a tooth-grinder though. Special mouthguards can be worn at night-time and there are plenty of techniques to help you reduce stress and stop you from grinding as often. Speak to your doctor or dentist about any concerns you have.
Changes to our blood sugar levels can make gum disease more likely and in some cases, gum surgery is needed to help keep your oral health in top form.
Our bodies find it hard to fight disease if they don’t get the right vitamins and nutrients, so stock up on lots of yummy fruits and veg and go easy on the sugary snacks!
Symptoms of gum disease
- Bleeding when you brush
- Spaces forming and getting bigger between your teeth
- Tender, swollen gums
- A receding gum line that makes your teeth look longer
- Pus between your teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Bad breath
- Changes in the way your teeth meet together
Please contact your Chelmsford dentist if you notice any of these signs. If gum disease is spotted early enough, there are lots of non-surgical treatments that can help, such as a good scale and polish.