Importance of seeing the Hygienist to avoid Gum Disease
Maintaining good oral health is crucial for your overall well-being. One common oral health issue that affects many individuals is gum disease.
This information sheet aims to provide you with essential insights into gum disease and emphasises the importance of seeing the hygienist for preventive care and treatment.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It typically starts with the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth due to poor oral hygiene habits. When plaque is not removed adequately through regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar (calculus), which is much harder to remove and can irritate and inflame the gums.
Types of Gum Disease:
- Gingivitis: This is the early stage of gum disease and is characterised by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Gingivitis is reversible with proper oral care and professional treatment.
- Periodontitis: If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis. In this stage, the infection spreads beneath the gum line and can cause bone and tissue loss, leading to tooth mobility and potential tooth loss.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease:
Several factors can increase your risk of developing gum disease. These include:
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque to build up, leading to gum inflammation and disease.
- Smoking and Tobacco Use: Smokers are at a higher risk of gum disease and may experience more severe symptoms.
- Diabetes: Poorly controlled diabetes can affect the body’s ability to fight infections, including gum disease.
- Certain Medications: Some medications can reduce saliva flow, making it easier for bacteria to thrive in the mouth.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, menopause, or puberty can make gums more sensitive and susceptible to gum disease.
- Family History: If gum disease runs in your family, you may have a higher risk of developing it too.
Oral Hygiene Advice for Healthy Gums:
To maintain healthy gums and reduce the risk of gum disease, follow these oral hygiene tips:
- Brush Properly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Be gentle, yet thorough, and don’t forget to brush your tongue.
- Floss Regularly: Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental brushes to remove plaque and food particles that your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Use Mouthwash: Consider using an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce bacteria in your mouth and freshen your breath.
- Eat a Balanced Diet: Limit sugary and acidic foods and beverages, as they can contribute to plaque formation and tooth decay. Opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Quit Smoking and Chewing Tobacco: If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting can significantly improve your oral health and reduce the risk of gum disease.
- Manage Health Conditions: If you have diabetes or other medical conditions, work with your healthcare provider to manage them effectively.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps maintain saliva production, which aids in washing away bacteria and food particles.
- Visit the Dental Hygienist: Regularly schedule appointments with the dental hygienist for professional cleanings and check-ups. They will remove tartar, assess your gum health, and provide personalised advice for your oral care routine.
How Often Should You See the Hygienist?
The frequency of your dental hygiene appointments may vary based on your individual needs and oral health condition. In general, most individuals benefit from seeing the hygienist every six months. However, if you have a history of gum disease or certain risk factors, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to gum disease. By partnering with your hygienist and maintaining good oral hygiene habits at home, you can keep your gums healthy and preserve your beautiful smile for years to come.
If you have any concerns about your gum health or wish to schedule an appointment with our dental hygienist, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to support you in achieving and maintaining optimal oral health.Back to blog