You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time; This is one of the most effective ways of protecting them and helping to ensure they last into old age.
However, when you’re brushing you probably don’t spend too much time thinking about your gums, unless they start bleeding. But, you should. Your gums can develop gum disease which can undermine the strength of your teeth, even if your teeth are healthy.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis is an infection of your gum. The infection damages the soft tissue in your gums and can even damage the roots of your teeth, or the bone supporting them. This will lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
Gum disease is surprisingly common, as much as 23% of the population have it. The good news is that it is also treatable, especially if you deal with it early.
The Symptoms of Gum Disease
The most common and noticeable symptom is bleeding gums when you brush them. However, you may also notice any of the following symptoms in your gums
- Dusky red color
- Pink tinge on toothbrush
- Pus between teeth
- Teeth feeling loose
- Spaces between teeth that weren’t there before
- Receding gums
- Pain when chewing
- Blood when spitting
If you notice any of these symptoms you need to book a dental appointment as soon as possible. Regular checkups can help to identify issues but even if you’ve just had a checkup, book an appointment
The Causes Of Gum Disease
When you eat food the sugar in the food reacts to the bacteria in your mouth. This creates several byproducts including acid that attacks your teeth.
But, it also creates debris and sticks to your teeth. It’s so small you won’t notice but the sticky film on your teeth is plaque. This can be removed by brushing and flossing every day. However, if you don’t remove the plaque it will build up. Any that gets below the gumline will harden and turn to tartar.
This is much harder to remove your dentist will need to do a deep clean to remove it. The longer the tartar is present the more damage it will do. At first, it will cause inflammation at the base of your teeth and you’ll find it irritating. This is gingivitis and can be easily treated by your dentist.
But, if left it allows pockets to form between your teeth and gums. These fill with plaque and bacteria. The deep pockets gradually get deeper and destroy tissue and bone, resulting in loose teeth that may need to be removed.
Know Your Risk
Good oral care and regular dental checkups will go a long way to preventing gum disease. You should also avoid smoking to chewing tobacco.
Other risk factors include hormonal changes, some medications, genetics, lack of vitamin C, immune conditions, obesity, and recreational drug use.