What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the most common adult dental disease and we see it regularly during check-ups at our Bayside dental clinic. It is a bacteria-related disease related to inadequate or poor oral hygiene and a lack of regular professional cleaning at the dentist. It varies in severity but is characterised by swollen gums that bleed easily during brushing.
When you don’t follow solid oral health routines, there’ll be a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. This buildup is home to harmful bacteria, which if not moved by regular brushing and cleaning between your teeth, will start to irritate the gums but without any symptoms.
The first stage of gum disease is called Gingivitis. This means the gum tissue around your tooth is inflamed and will usually bleed when cleaned. It can be mild in nature, but also if left unattended can have serious side effects down the track.
If poor dental health routines continue to be followed and remains undetected and untreated, the bacteria gets under the gum line. You no can no longer clean here and the bone underneath the gum can start to become affected. This bone can start to resorb due to the inflammation caused by the bacteria. The problem with this is that this bone attaches to your teeth, holding them in your jaws. Therefore, this bone loss means you are losing some of the attachment that holds your teeth in place. This much more serious disease is called periodontitis.
The problem during this bone loss process is there are few symptoms until the disease is advanced, at which point there are limited options to help. This means most of the time you won’t even know you have the disease. You will need to see a dentist who specialises in gum care for diagnosis before it gets that serious. If enough bone loss occurs the teeth get loose. You could then lose some of them because of the problems with the foundations (the gums and bone) that hold the teeth in your jaws.
The good news for most people with periodontitis is the disease process is slow and takes many years to get this serious. This gives us time to stabilise the disease. In doing so, our goal is for you to keep your teeth for life. This is very attainable if adequate maintenance at home and at the dentist is maintained throughout life.
Now let’s take this one step further.
Once the harmful bacteria ends up trapped under the gum line where you can no longer clean, not only can the bacteria start to cause gum disease. When these inflamed gums next bleed, this harmful bacteria trapped here can access your body’s entire blood circulation because when you gums bleed, it means these blood vessels are open and this area laden with bacteria can get access to your bloodstream.
Through this mechanism, we know there are links between gum disease and heart disease and we are still learning more about this. Who knows what other harm around the body this bacteria can cause. Good oral hygiene not only leads to good gum and oral health but also contributes to good overall body health.
If you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms, you could have a case of gum disease. We’d recommend you book an appointment to come and see one of our dentists.
- Bad breath that just won’t go away;
- Teeth that become loose;
- Gums that bleed easily, particularly after eating or brushing teeth;
- Swollen, red or tender gums;
- Gums that show signs of pulling away from your teeth.
How to Keep Healthy Gums
Luckily with a bit of care and good oral health routines, your gums should be able to stay nice and healthy. In dentistry, prevention is always better than dealing with bigger dental procedures down the track, so at the The Dental Family Beaumaris we like to focus on preventive dentistry to keep your mouth, gums and teeth healthy. Here are some steps you can take to keep your gums in top notch shape:
Regular Professional Dental Cleanings
Coming in to see a dentist at our Bayside family dentistry regularly will allow us to pick up on any gum care problems before they develop into anything more serious. Your dentist will use an advanced piece of technology called an ultrasonic scaler to clean your teeth, removing plaque and tartar buildup from hard to reach places in your mouth. He can also remove plaque that’s deeply entrenched under the gum, which can’t be removed at home.
Most people come in for a dental cleaning every six months. Some experience faster buildup of plaque so come in more regularly.
Brushing Teeth Regularly
A simple daily routine of brushing your teeth twice per day is a powerful tool in the fight against gum disease. However, this is only half the job and where a lot of people end their oral hygiene journey. A tooth has four sides to it and the bacteria will accumulate on all four sides. The toothbrush only cleans the outside and inside of the tooth, ie two of the four sides which is only half the job.
Clean between your teeth
What about the remaining two side surfaces of the tooth where it meets against its neighbouring teeth on either side? These side surfaces also accumulate bacteria and the toothbrush is unable to clean these side surfaces. The bacteria on these side surfaces are harder to dislodge and require other cleaning devices to get the job done. Due to the more difficult access, this is why most gum disease occurs here. Therefore, it is very important to remove food and plaque trapped between your teeth before the bacteria takes real hold.
There are two cleaning devices that can be used to clean between teeth – flossing and interdental brushes.
If the space between your teeth is small, flossing is the only option to clean the side surfaces. Do you know how to floss properly? Many people don’t and have never been shown. We’ll teach you.
If the space between your teeth is larger, then the thin floss gets lost in the space and starts to become the wrong device and is usually unsuccessful for most people in removing the bacteria. This is when an interdental brush is appropriate. But which one and what size? We will make sure we teach you that too.
A therapeutic mouthwash is readily available over the counter. Consider these a supplement to brushing and cleaning between your teeth rather than a substitute. Mouthwashes can help reduce plaque buildup and reduce inflammation. However, with good brushing and cleaning between your teeth, they’re not really required.
Your Dental Family Headed by Dr. David Delac
The Dental Family Beaumaris is here to provide Bayside residents with seamless dental care, leading to fantastic oral hygiene and healthy teeth and gums. We’ve been providing high quality oral care to Bayside residents for over 20 years now. No matter which member of your family needs to book in to see a dentist, come in and see one of our expert team.
We consider all our patients at our dental practice to be a part of our Bayside family dentistry, and treat them accordingly. Our philosophy is that relationships come first, and we strive to put your wellbeing at the heart of everything we do.
Our expert Bayside dentistry team is headed up by Dr David Delac, a man whose unwavering commitment to quality dental care began many years ago. Qualified at the University of Melbourne, he’s been providing his dental talents and skills to Beaumaris since 2001.
To experience The Dental Family Beaumaris difference, book in an appointment at our dental practice today. Healthy teeth and gums are just a phone call away.