Your oral health is an important part of your overall health and research shows links between gum disease and medical problems such high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Brushing your teeth twice daily for at least 2 minutes is essential in maintaining healthy gums and teeth. Brushing alone, however, will not remove all the harmful plaque bacteria from the gums.
Watch this video for useful brushing tips.
Flossing is an essential part of the tooth-cleaning process also as it removes the plaque from in between the teeth and at the gum-line, where the toothbrush doesn't reach.
Watch this video for useful flossing tips:
Our mouths are full of bacteria that form a sticky, colourless film (plaque) on teeth. Brushing and flossing help to remove plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden over time to form tartar (calculus) that brushing cannot remove. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
The plaque and tartar cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). With gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis, which causes inflammation in bone around teeth. With periodontitis, gums detach from the teeth and form pockets. If not treated, the bones, gums and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
Signs and symptoms of advanced gum disease include
- Bad breath
- Red or swollen gums that bleed easily
- Tender and sensitive gums
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing though commonly painless
- Pus around teeth and gums
Your dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth thoroughly to remove the tartar. A deep cleaning is called root planning. This involves cleaning the roots of the teeth to remove the pockets of bacteria. This is generally carried out with local anaesthetic. This may take a number of visits. You will also be given instructions on how to remove the plaque successfully yourself at home on a daily basis.
Periodontal disease is never cured, but it can be controlled as long as you maintain good home care by removing plaque daily by brushing and flossing. Regular routine hygiene and dental appointments are crucial in maintaining good gum health.