Why healthy gums do matter
As non-dental professionals, you may not realise just how important your dental gum health is. In fact, gum disease is one of the most common dental problems in the UK, affecting around half of adults.
This is why, here at Silk Dental, when you see the dentist or the therapist for a Dental Health Review we always screen your gum health. But why is gum health so important, and what can you do to protect it? Let’s take a closer look.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It’s caused by bacteria that accumulate on your teeth and gums, forming a sticky film called plaque. If this plaque is not removed through proper oral hygiene, it can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist.
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Symptoms include red, swollen, and bleeding gums, especially when you brush or floss. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that can become infected. Over time, the infection can destroy the bone that supports your teeth, leading to tooth loss.
Why is gum health important?
Good gum health is important for a number of reasons:
- Preventing tooth loss: As we mentioned above, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. By keeping your gums healthy, you can help prevent this from happening.
- Maintaining overall health: There is growing evidence that gum disease is linked to a number of other health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease. By taking care of your gums, you may be helping to protect your overall health as well.
- Preserving your smile: Gum disease can cause your gums to recede, making your teeth appear longer than they should. This can affect the appearance of your smile, as well as your confidence.
What can you do to protect your gum health?
The good news is that there are several things you can do to protect your gum health:
- Brush and interdental clean with floss or Tepes regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with an electric toothbrush, and interdental clean at least once a day. This will help remove plaque and prevent it from hardening into tartar.
- Use a mouthwash: A good mouthwash can help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Look for one that is specifically designed to help prevent gum disease But avoid ones containing alcohol or chlorhexadine.
- See your dentist regularly: Your dentist or hygienist can help remove any tartar that has built up on your teeth, as well as check for signs of gum disease. They may also recommend additional treatments, such as scaling and root planing, if necessary.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease. If you smoke, quitting can help improve your gum health as well as your overall health.
What is a Dental Hygienist?
A dental hygienist/therapist is a licensed oral health professional who works alongside dentists to provide preventive and therapeutic care for patients. Their main role is to help patients maintain good oral health by providing various dental treatments and educating them on how to take care of their teeth and gums. Gina, our amazing therapist, works at multiple practices across Cheshire.
Here are some of the tasks that a Gina typically performs:
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- Cleaning teeth: One of the main responsibilities of a dental hygienist is to clean teeth, which involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and gum line using specialised instruments.
- Conducting oral assessments: Dental therapists also perform thorough oral assessments, which involves examining the teeth, gums, and mouth for signs of decay, disease, or abnormalities.
- Applying preventive treatments: They apply preventive treatments such as fluoride and sealants to help protect teeth against decay.
- Educating patients: A dental hygienist educates patients on proper oral hygiene practices such as brushing, flossing, and maintaining a healthy diet. They also provide guidance on how to manage conditions such as periodontal disease.