Almost everyone has seen the Corsodyl adverts about tooth loss. You know, the ones with a beautiful girl putting on her make up or frolicking through a field of wheat and then it’s shockingly revealed that she has a very obvious tooth missing that she can’t hide. And suddenly you feel so bad for her because she’s so gorgeous apart from the gaping hole in her smile, but you just can’t miss it.
The adverts are hard to watch and as a viewer you feel very aware that the more horrific the experience of watching it, the better their mouthwash sales are going to be. You may even wonder if gum disease is real or if it is simply a myth made up to sell more toothpaste. Maybe you haven’t heard of it, or don’t think you know anyone who has had it. Well, we want to give you the facts about gum disease, no scare tactics, just truth. Because knowledge is power, and we want you to know how to prevent against tooth loss and more.
- It’s not a myth. Gum disease is real, and it affects a surprising amount of people. So, what is it? Well, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s disease of the gums. The gums are the pink, fleshy part of your mouth that hold your teeth, well…in your mouth. So, they’re kind of important and looking after them is just as crucial as looking after your teeth because, simply put: no gums = no teeth.
Gum disease is primarily caused by a build-up of plaque which contains bacteria. This bacteria can attack the tooth and gums, causing gum disease to develop. According to the Oral Health Foundation gum disease has been linked with general health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease, poor pregnancy outcomes and even dementia.
- What does gum disease do? It’s also referred to as gingivitis, or periodontal disease The Oral Health Foundation states ‘the first sign is blood on your toothbrush or in the toothpaste you spit out after cleaning your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant ‘. NHS England writes that “If periodontitis is not treated, the bone in your jaw may be damaged and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth. Your teeth can become loose and may eventually fall out.” So, I think we can all agree that is to be avoided at all costs.
- It won’t happen to me. Anyone can get gum disease although some people are more prone to it than others and some other factors can increase your chances of it affecting you too. Up to 80% of the adult population are affected to some degree before the age of 60.
The NHS website advises that “most adults in the UK have gum disease to some degree, and most people experience it at least once.” That is even less welcome news, but it does prove that this is an issue that few people talk about, but many people must experience. That also means that you absolutely do know someone who has or has had gum disease.
- Who can get Gum disease? The short answer is, absolutely anyone with gums. But there are a few factors that can increase your odds of getting gum disease. You are more likely to suffer from gum disease during pregnancy for example. Obviously, that only refers to the ladies, but it is precisely why dental care is free for NHS patients during pregnancy so do take advantage and make sure your teeth are healthy if you’re expecting.
Other factors that can increase your likelihood of getting gum disease are:
- If you smoke, you are much more likely to get gum disease.
- Your age. Gum disease is more common the older you get.
- Diabetes can put you more at risk of gingivitis.
- Pregnancy. Yes, the swift changes in hormone levels can make you more susceptible to gum disease.
- If you suffer from a weakened immune system or a poor diet you may be more prone to gum disease.
- Stress has also proven to be counterproductive to healthy gums, and general health for that matter. Who knew?
- Genetics – if your mum or dad have had gum disease, then you are more at risk.
- How do you treat it? The best treatment for gum disease is prevention but there are dental treatments that can help gum disease. The most important thing to do in order to prevent gum disease causing further dental problems for you, is to attend your regular, routine dental appointments at your local dental practice. Your dentist or hygienist will be able to tell you if you are suffering from gum disease and what to do about it.
Dentistry is not just about teeth for us. At Kennett Road Dental Practice, we want your whole mouth to be healthy and for you to have a smile you can be proud of. If you are concerned about gum disease, then do discuss your worries at your next dental check-up or appointment. If you think you might be suffering with gum disease (see symptoms here), then our advice is to book an appointment with your dental practitioner or hygienist to get it treated before it causes more severe problems for you.
The most important thing to remember where gum disease is concerned is that it is absolutely preventable. You can seriously reduce your risk of gum disease and resulting dental issues by brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride rich toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth daily with floss or interdental brushes and visiting your dentist and hygienist regularly. It’s really that simple.