Posts tagged “gum disease and smoking”

What are the Causes of Gum Disease?

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.

Tooth grinding

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.

Food choices

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

These include:

  • 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.

How Smoking Harms Your Oral Health

Many people are aware that smoking increases the risk of cancer and heart disease, but did you know that smoking also puts your oral health at risk?

Smoking and oral health

Smoking is harmful for oral and general health and it also has aesthetic implications for your smile. Smoking contributes to staining and discolouration, which makes the teeth look old and unhealthy and it increases the risk of gum disease, the major cause of tooth loss in adults in the UK. Gum disease is caused by harmful bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria combine with food debris to form plaque, a sticky white film that clings to the tooth enamel and the gum line. When you eat, the bacteria in the plaque feed, which causes harmful plaque acids to be released. These acids erode the protective enamel and irritate the gums.

Smoking also slows the body’s healing process, which means that smokers take longer to recover after dental treatment and when they have ulcers or sores in the mouth. Smoking is also a common cause of bad breath.

How can dental hygienists help with smoking?

Our expert team of dental hygienists are always available to give advice and information about giving up smoking and they can also discuss the effects and implications of smoking with patients. Giving up is not easy, but it is possible and quitting has so many benefits, not just for oral health, but also for general health.

Our hygienists can recommend ways to help patients give up and provide them with information about stop smoking services, which may be beneficial.

Smokers can also benefit from seeing a dental hygienist every six months as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of gum disease. Intensive cleaning can also help to reduce the visibility of staining and keep bad breath at bay. For more information about smoking and oral health please contact the team at Advance Dental Clinic in the heart of Chelmsford.

All the Gum Disease Advice You Need

Take care of your gums with Advance Dental Clinic

There are two main types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.  With gingivitis, a build-up of plaque (such as food and bacteria) occurs in your gums, and, if your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly, your gums will become irritated – turning red and shiny, and you might also notice bleeding when you brush.

However, gingivitis can be reversed.  If the plaque is removed then the gums will recover. But if the plaque remains on the teeth then the gingivitis will worsen and may develop into periodontitis.  Resulting in the gums receding from the teeth, this creates a small pocket around the tooth which then traps plaque that cannot be reached by a toothbrush.  Over time the plaque will begin to harden and turn into tartar (calculus), and the combined build up of plaque and tartar will eventually cause further irritation – leading to the shrinkage of both bone and gum, known as periodontitis.  By the degradation of the gum, some roots of your teeth may be left exposed, leaving them wobbly and sensitive. And if left untreated, your teeth will come loose and fall out.

Whilst gingivitis is reversible, periodontitis is not.  Yet if treatment is administered straight away and is teamed with regular brushing and flossing, the disease can be prevented.

Symptoms to look out for include red and swollen gums and bleeding from the gums when brushing your teeth.  If gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis, then your teeth may become wobbly and you may get gum abscesses – but should you suffer from any of these symptoms then see your dentist immediately.

Usual forms of treatment include scaling, where your dentist will carry out a thorough clean of your teeth using gritty toothpaste and special toothbrushes. If the disease is in quite a severe stage, then gum surgery may be the only option – but is relatively pain-free and effective.

The Effects of Smoking on Your Health and Wellbeing

The negative effects (to put it lightly!) of smoking are common knowledge nowadays and recently passed laws, such as the smoking ban in public buildings, has attempted to reduce the risk of secondary smoke to non-smokers. But what are the most common effects of smoking, and how many of them are permanent?


Cancer is one of the first things most people think of on the subject of diseases caused by smoking. The list of cancers that smokers put themselves at risk of may be longer than one would first think, including lung, throat, stomach, bladder, kidney, mouth, cervix and pancreas cancer. Smokers are also much more likely to develop cancer compared to non smokers too, up to seven times more likely according to some studies.

Heart diseases

Multiple heart diseases are risked by smokers, and the chances of falling prey to a heart attack or a stroke are greatly increased by smoking. Heightened blood pressure and the hardening and thickening of artery walls – which decreases blood flow and can even cause blood clots, both primary causes of heart attacks – are also problems linked to smoking.

The thickening of artery walls can wear off with time once you have given up smoking, and the likelihood of having a heart attack can be reduced with it. For the effects to fully wear off, however, it can take a prolonged period of time, in some cases a number of years.

Lung diseases

The primary problem for the lungs to do with smoking is issues with breathing, shortness of breath and long coughing attacks which can be caused by the carbon monoxide in cigarettes. Luckily, the lungs are much more proficient at cleaning themselves than the heart and you may begin to feel a difference in breathing patterns and stamina within just a few days of your last cigarette.

Available help

With public awareness on the health issues of smoking so high, there are many places to turn for help with quitting including the NHS who do free Quit Smoking packs.

The Dangers Of Smoking And Your Oral Health

Many people are aware of the link between smoking and some forms of cancer and respiratory diseases. However, have you ever stopped to think how smoking may affect your oral health? Smoking is a major risk factor for oral cancer, a form of cancer, which has become increasingly common in the UK in the last ten years and it also contributes to an increased risk of gum disease and staining. Smoking is particularly harmful for those who already have symptoms of gum disease, as it affects the body’s ability to heal naturally by reducing blood flow to the gums. At Advance Dental Clinic, our team lives by the motto that prevention is better than cure and we are able to offer expert advice to help patients who wish to quit smoking. Our hygienists have expertise in helping people to give up and they will be happy to discuss methods that may help with you. One of our main missions is to prevent gum disease and we encourage regular routine check-ups and hygiene sessions for all patients. If you have a high risk of developing gum disease or you are prone to oral diseases, frequent sessions are particularly important. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults in the UK, but it is preventable and often, the key is being able to spot early signs; in the first stages, gum disease is treatable, so seeing your dentist quickly can make a significant difference to your oral health. Look out for swollen and painful gums and check for traces of blood when you spit when you brush your teeth; if you notice any of these signs, give us a call and we will make an appointment for you. If mild gum disease is left untreated, it can quickly become more serious and advanced gum disease, known as periodontal disease, causes irreversible damage to the gums and also the bone structure beneath. This causes the teeth to become loose in their sockets and they will eventually fall out. If you smoke and you are worried about the impact it may be having on your oral health, we recommend making an appointment to see our outstanding dental hygienists. They can give your mouth a thorough clean, work with the rest of the dental team to assess your oral health and treat any existing dental issues and talk through some therapies and treatments, which may be beneficial; this may include nicotine replacement and group sessions, for example.