Spotting the warning signs
The most obvious sign of gum disease is bleeding gums and most people notice this when they clean their teeth. From time to time, if you catch your gums when you’re flossing or brushing, your gums may bleed. But if they bleed on a regular basis or they feel sore or swollen, you should see your dentist. Other symptoms to look out for include pain and inflammation, and the gums may also look redder and feel tender.
If you do have symptoms of gum disease, it’s a good idea to arrange an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can.
Treating gum disease
In the majority of cases it’s relatively easy to manage mild gum disease (gingivitis) and good oral hygiene is usually sufficient to banish symptoms. If gingivitis is left alone, there is a risk that it can develop and become more advanced. This is known as periodontal disease or periodontitis and it causes irreversible damage to the gums. In cases of advanced gum disease, the aim of treatment is to contain the problem and prevent it from getting worse, and we use a combination of treatments to do this. We recommend regular hygiene sessions and treatments such as scale and polish and root planing to remove plaque and bacteria, and try to prevent further damage to the gums and supportive bone structure beneath.
Prevention is better than cure
When it comes to dental disease, prevention is always better than cure. Here are some simple steps to help you keep gum disease at arm’s length:
- brush your teeth twice a day, every day for 2 minutes each time
- floss daily
- see your dentist every 6-9 months or sooner if you have symptoms
- avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks
- avoid brushing too hard