Gum disease is something no-one wants to get. It starts off as what seems to be a fairly minor annoyance of bleeding gums and soreness but when left untreated can lead to very serious consequences for the teeth and eventually the whole mouth.
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Gum disease is something that the practitioners at Holly House Dental in Stockport see in patients who have failed to heed the initial symptoms and who then may require a course of intensive treatment to put things right. For dentists, gum disease is such a frustrating thing to see because, with the right guidance on how to spot the first symptoms and what to do when you do, the problem is easily preventable. Read on for the top dentist-recommended tips on preventing gum disease.
What is Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)?
It is an inflammatory condition that affects both the soft tissue and the bony structure which supports the teeth. The first stage is characterized by sore, swollen or bleeding gums, noticeable when you brush your teeth and later stages can include bacterial infection in the gums or jawbone.
What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
The first thing you will notice is a little blood on your toothbrush or in the toothpaste you spit out after brushing your teeth. There may be some sensitivity in the teeth at this stage or there could be soreness or swelling of the gums. This early stage is called gingivitis. Please do not ignore these signs because they will not just go away; the symptoms will progress onto a more persistent pain and even infection. Eventually, the teeth may become loose as the bony structure holding them in place becomes compromised. Without appropriate dental treatment from a periodontal specialist, teeth can eventually start to fall out.
How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?
The very early signs of gum disease can be a bit hit and miss; you could experience a small amount of bleeding and soreness which can appear to ease every now and then. But this is the stage at which it is easiest to treat. If you are unsure or in any doubt about whether you may have gum disease at any stage, the best thing to do is to make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible for a thorough professional examination.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
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You can help yourself by looking out for symptoms on a daily basis and the best way to do this is through a regular, daily oral hygiene routine. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Use a toothbrush that isn’t too hard; brushing teeth too hard can cause damage to the gums. If you tend to brush too hard you may benefit from using an electric toothbrush. Change your toothbrush regularly – every three to four months is the recommended life span for a manual toothbrush. The same applies to electric toothbrush heads. Try to floss teeth every day after brushing and use interdental brushes to get to the parts between the teeth that tooth brushing can’t reach. Use a separate piece of floss for each tooth to avoid the transference of bacteria. Flossing is important because it is the bacteria that are left between the teeth that go on to form plaque and tartar which often requires a dental visit to remove. If you’re not sure of the correct way to use dental floss or interdental brushes, your dental hygienist will be happy to show you.
Above all, see your dentist for regular check-ups for the best way to stop gum disease in its tracks.