prevention is better than cure”
Gum disease and tooth decay are the two biggest reasons for premature tooth loss. In fact, around a third of adults and children still have tooth decay in the UK. Gum disease is the largest cause of tooth loss in adults. Both are entirely preventable, but they’re also very common. But worry not, as keeping up the basics can help to prevent it.
Kempston Dental Practice will try to ensure all patients have the skills and knowledge required to maintain the best oral health and to look after their newly restored teeth and gums as effectively as possible. Regular visits with a hygienist play a vital role in the prevention of tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Dental hygiene treatment includes professionally cleaning and polishing the teeth. This is usually called scaling and polishing. Hygienists are also very important in motivating patients to adopt good habits early in life, which can help prevent a lifetime of dental treatment.
Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth and gums. Smoking is also one of the main causes of bad breath, along with certain illnesses such as nasal and stomach conditions.
Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. So correct and regular brushing is very important to keep your breath smelling fresh.
The bacteria on our teeth and gums (plaque) also cause gum disease and dental decay. If you see your dentist regularly this will not only help prevent bad breath but will also let the dentist look for and treat these problems.
Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is reversible but means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse, the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may become mobile and need to be extracted.
All gum diseases are caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and interdental cleaning.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do not notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult and may need to be extracted.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the sink when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.
Our dental hygienist will be happy to provide specific advice on:
- Oral disease and prevention of gum disease
- Use of fluoride, anti-bacterials and new dental care materials
- Tooth Whitening
- Smoking cessation