Shockingly it is thought that over half of adults will suffer from this disease to some extent in their lives, and the truth of the matter is that it is completely preventable.
If you adopt a comprehensive cleaning routine and adhere to it you can prevent it from starting in the first place. Remember, it is never too early to teach children the importance of good oral hygiene practices. Make teeth cleaning fun and the benefits will stay with them for life.
Sometimes known as Gingivitis, in its early stages, it is simply a build up of plaque over a sustained period of time which causes damage to the gum and jaw bone. The plaque is a sticky white substance which is full of bacteria. In extreme cases gum disease can result in the loss of a tooth.
The irony is that the tooth itself may be healthy but the problem is with the gum that anchors the tooth.
Smoking is one of the main causes of gum disease and the following conditions also significantly increase your susceptibility to it: Diabetes, a weakened immune system possibly as a result of Hiv, Aids or chemotherapy.
Other factors include: genetics, pregnancy, some medications, stress, a poor diet and hormonal changes.
Once you suspect that you may have gum disease it is vital that you make an appointment as soon as possible with one of our hygienists. (You do not have to wait for your regular appointment). Explain your concerns and our hygienist will give your teeth a deep clean using specialised equipment. They will then advise you on the best cleaning practices for you.
Sometimes we can think that we have cleaned our teeth thoroughly but specific areas can be missed. Simply the angle that you hold your brush can make a difference as can being left or right handed!
As the early signs progress you may experience some of the following :
When drinks or food containing carbohydrates are ingested the sugars they contain react with the bacteria in the mouth from saliva or food particles to form plaque. This acidic substance will then infiltrate the surface of the gum and cause cavities and further problems.
This is the crucial point where you can halt the problem. If you do nothing, over time, the plaque will harden onto the enamel of the tooth becoming Tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a professional.
Use the best toothpaste that you can. It must contain Fluoride
Brush your teeth twice a day for approximately three minutes ago
Make brushing fun for children with a timer or sing a song or rhyme to them so they get used to the length of time needed Floss as often as possible. Ideally a minimum of three times a week. It is a good idea to keep a pack of floss in your bag or briefcase
Do not smoke, or try to cut back if you do…a small step is better than none Keep alcohol to a minimum
Teach your children that sweets are a treat and not the norm
First make an appointment with one of our hygienists. They will assess your teeth and your gums.
If an Xray is taken early it will show the extent of the damage to the teeth and in some cases the jaw bone. It is also a useful marker to use for comparison at a later stage.
The hygienist will scrape away the plaque and tartar. It may be necessary to repeat this process several times.
This is where bacteria are cleaned away from the root of the tooth. An anaesthetic is required and there may be some discomfort for a few days afterwards.
In extreme cases it may be advisable to remove the affected tooth.
Afterwards you will be offered continual monitoring
Often people simply do not realise that they have the beginning of a gum infection. However the most obvious symptoms would be:
The problem with gum disease is that symptoms can be missed. In extreme cases teh bacteria can cause severe problems such as an abscess.
This is when pus weeps from a the tooth area. Severe pain and bone loss may also occur.
An Xray will be required to see the extent of the damage to the bone and to determine the best treatment plan.
These are the drainage points for an abscess that form in the root of the tooth.. When the nerve of the tooth dies it often exits near the base of the tooth and causes the body to send white blood cells to destroy the infection. This can result in additional abscesses.
If not treated quickly it will damage the soft tissue in the mouth. Whilst these are not sited in the tooth itself they will cause intense tooth pain as the inflammation will affect the dental nerve.
Nausea, high temperature, redness in the mouth and cheek area, swollen glands, bad breath, pain during eating, diarrhoea
The boil must be drained to prevent further infection and then a root canal procedure carried out.