Gum disease: Dentist explains how you can prevent it
Gum disease, medically known as periodontitis, “can destroy the bone that supports your teeth”, the Mayo Clinic warns.
Early indications of gum disease can include bleeding, puffy gums that can feel tender to touch.
If you do not address the underlying habits that could worsen gum disease, the Mayo Clinic warns “this can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss”.
Healthy gums are “firm and fit snugly around teeth” but, if there is gum disease present, you might experience:
- Bright red, dark red or dark purple gums
- A toothbrush that looks pink after brushing your teeth
- Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth
- Painful chewing
- New spaces that develop between your teeth that look like black triangles
- Gums that pull away from your teeth, making your teeth look longer than usual
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
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The Mayo Clinic says: “If you notice any symptoms of periodontitis, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.”
Certain factors can increase the likelihood of worsening gum disease, such as a low vitamin C intake.
Good oral health care is essential in stopping the progression of gum disease, which means brushing teeth for at least two minutes, twice daily.
People are also recommended to floss daily, which should be carried out before brushing the teeth.
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“Good oral care keeps your teeth and gums clean and removes the bacteria that cause periodontal disease,” the Mayo Clinic explains.
Regular dentist check-ups are another essential tool kit against worsening gum disease.
A dental hygienist can thoroughly clean around the teeth to prevent further damage to the surrounding gum tissue and bone.
People are encouraged to see their dentist every six months, or once a year.
Factors to avoid if you have gum disease are:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
Lifestyle tips include changing your electric toothbrush head every three months, using a mouth rinse, and to consider brushing your teeth after every meal or snack.
In terms of mouthwash, the NHS advises not to use the product straight after brushing your teeth.
“Choose a different time to use mouthwash, such as after lunch,” the health body recommends.
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