Thankfully, in our modern day dental environment and with increased attention being paid to overall dental health, the fluoridation of water and with readily accessible dental hygiene options, the incidence of gum disease is not quite so prevalent as it once was. Sadly however, gum disease does still exist and therefore it’s important we help you to know and understand what to be aware of and what to look for when it comes to the signs and symptoms of gum disease.
Your mouth is full of bacteria – even when it’s really clean! Don’t take offense though – everyone is the same. Bacteria comes from a variety of sources and can build up over time, forming plaque and then tartar, materials that brushing alone simply can’t remove. On occasion, this in turn may lead to gingivitis. You may have heard this word before and often it signifies the potential onset of gum disease. While usually mild in form and easily treatable, it is nonetheless preventable through good, regular, oral hygiene. Concerns develop however, when we don’t take adequate care. Gingivitis can lead to red, swollen and tender gums and if left untreated will almost certainly lead to more serious and longer – term consequences like periodontal disease. However, don’t fret! As part of our ongoing regular series of blogs, we’re here to remind you that doing things like regular brushing, flossing daily and maintaining a regular schedule of dental care from your dentist and hygienist, you can help prevent gingivitis from gaining a foothold and becoming a risk to your health.
Quite apart from oral hygiene, there are other factors that may also contribute to the likelihood of developing any form of gum disease. Typically, gum disease starts to develop in our 30’s and 40’s. Risk factors include behaviours like smoking and other research suggests those with diabetes are often at a higher risk. While men tend to suffer from gum disease more often than women, hormonal fluctuations in both women and young girls is considered another leading risk factor. Individuals who are being treated for serious illnesses such as cancer are at greater risk and there are a number of prescription medications that can also potentially lead to gingivitis and other gum disease. You may even be susceptible based simply on your family genes. If you find yourself facing other health challenges and require treatments that may impact your oral health, it’s important to discuss these not just with your dentist but with all your other health care providers too so they can work together with you to help prevent, manage and treat gingivitis before it becomes more serious.
Next time we’ll take a look at Periodontal disease and the who/what/where/how and why of treatment options if you are suffering from it. In the meantime – Don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!