Healthy Gums

Cleaning your teeth twice a day to look after your teeth is a vital aspect of good oral hygiene, but this does not necessarily mean that you will maintain healthy gums. Other factors are important and certain aspects of your lifestyle may have left your gums less than perfect.

Causes of gum disease

Poor diet, illness, smoking, various medications and teeth brushing in an incorrect manner are examples of leading causes of gum problems but the biggest problem is plaque build up due to poor hygiene. In your mouth, there are hundreds of thousands of bacteria that reside there without causing you any harm. In fact, they have many useful properties but if the teeth are not cleaned well enough, they can adhere to the surface of them and form a plaque. This is most common in areas of the mouth that are more difficult to clean, such as behind the teeth and right at the back of the mouth.

Regular dental appointments are important for identifying major issues that may cause long lasting gum damage if left untreated. Gingivitis is another term for gum inflammation and periodontal disease sometimes follows. In the earliest stages, the gums become slightly inflamed and when brushing, it is common to see blood. At this point, the teeth are still held secure in the gums and if dealt with, there will be no long lasting damage.

If nothing is done periodontal disease, which is another term for gum disease, will set in. When a person has periodontitis, their gums and bone will pull away from the teeth to leave a gap in which the bacteria can enter. As the bacteria spread below the gum line, they are no longer seen as harmless and the immune system kicks in to deal with the threat. Substances, produced by both the bacteria and the body's own defences, cause degradation of the connective tissue holding the teeth in place. The teeth are no longer firmly anchored in their places and as a result, tooth loss occurs.

Treating gum disease

Hygienist treatments are recommended to deal with such problems before they cause any more serious damage to the gums. These involve using specialised equipment to clean the teeth, polish them and scaling to stop plaque and tartar build up. As a result of having such treatments, it will be very difficult for the bacteria to colonise and damage the gums. It is vital that this is done on a regular basis as this is not a permanent way to prevent gum disease.

If an infection is confirmed to be present, an antibiotic may be prescribed to help clear it up. A root canal treatment may also be recommended to ensure all of the bacteria is removed from the roots of the teeth.