Since we were children, we have been told how important it is to take care of our teeth. Brushing twice a day is something most of us make part of our daily routine.

But what about the rest of our mouths? What about what actually holds your teeth in place?

Gums are usually one of the more neglected parts of most people’s oral hygiene, yet the importance of gum health cannot be insisted on enough.

Gum disease is one of the most common complaints patients get diagnosed with.

Most people will suffer from at least a mild version of the condition at some point in their lives. Here is some information that may help you avoid that painful visit to the dentist.

What is gum disease?

There are essentially two categories of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the earlier stage and affects the surface layer of the gum where it meets the tooth. The main symptoms of this is bleeding when brushing or eating and occasional swelling.

When this is not dealt with properly, gingivitis evolves into periodontitis. This is when things get serious and long term damage can be incurred such as bone damage and loss of teeth, not to mention a lot of pain.

This is because the gums deteriorate and spaces form where once the tooth was held firmly in place. In these new spaces, more bacteria gets trapped, further exacerbating the situation.

See the professionals

We mentioned avoiding a painful trip to the dentist earlier, but to avoid that kind of trip, regular visits must be scheduled to make sure everything is going smoothly.

Traditionally, it is said that one should get their teeth looked at twice a year. An oral health professional will be quick to point out developing gum disease and what you can do to nip it in the bud or prescribe treatment if necessary.

If you have any symptoms of gingivitis, make an appointment as soon as possible and do not neglect gum health as something inconsequential. It’s your smile that’s at stake, after all.

Prevention and maintaining gum health

To fight off gum disease, focus on targeting buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Regular brushing as mentioned is already part of most people’s routine but most do not do it correctly.

Use a toothbrush with a small head and soft gentle bristles that won’t irritate the gums. Opt for a toothpaste for sensitive gums and teeth if you already have swelling and bleeding, and one with fluoride will also help boost your oral hygiene.

Flossing is also important to remove buildup from places the brush cannot reach. It would also be wise to avoid smoking and stick to a healthy diet by avoiding sugary foods and drinks.

You can even opt for regular professional cleanings from a dentist. It is always better to prevent gum disease from kicking in than to treat it later, as it can get quite painful.

More information

The Australian Dental Association NSW website offers a range of resources for people concerned about their dental health

02 4868 1933