Gum Disease

Gum Disease

or "Why does Jo go on about flossing?"

What causes it?

Ever adapting bacteria living in the plaque layer (film) on the teeth.

Do I have it? / What is it?

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss then you have some level of gum disease. It can be difficult for you, or me, to tell the severity of the disease by just looking at the gums, that’s why I will monitor them with probing at every check-up. You are aiming for 0 as a score, the higher the numbers, the worse the gums are and the longer the flossing lecture will be.

Other symptoms could be pain/tenderness in the gums

How do I get rid of it?

Brush your teeth thoroughly- watch yourself in a mirror to make sure that you get to all areas, and floss or use an interdental brush between the teeth. The bleeding should decrease and stop within a week or so of regular flossing

 Rinsing with various mouth rinses or taking antibiotics (except in extreme cases) are shown to be fairly ineffective as the bacteria are well protected. The mouth rinses may make your mouth tingle but don’t kid yourself that it is doing the job of flossing.

The most effective tool you have is to disturb the environment of the plaque by flossing; we can also remove rough edges of fillings and fix spaces between the teeth where food gets routinely caught.

Why get rid of it?  I’ve always had bleeding gums.

Gum disease does not follow a steady course; it may be quiet for years and then have a burst of activity. There are now very strong links to heart disease and problems with insulin control.

80% of people can control gum disease by simple flossing.

10% of people despite flossing will still need the assistance of a specialist (periodontist) to keep their teeth.

I’m sorry if you are living with someone from the other 10% who never get gum disease, try not to garrote them with your floss as they laugh at you efforts

Where does bad breath come into this?

87% of bad breath is caused by dental problems such as gum disease, decay, trapped food or decreased saliva flow.

Decreased saliva flow can be simple dehydration or it may be medication related, it is not age related. It takes a large decrease before you would necessarily notice a dry mouth

 If you think you have bad breath; try flossing, brushing, drinking more water and even having a check-up.

And smoking?

Smoking decreases the blood supply to small vessels such as those in the gums. This allows gum disease to flourish without the usual signs, as well as giving you bad breath.


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