It is not only tooth decay that can cause you to lose your teeth.
Tooth loss is often associated with dental decay, and certainly in younger patients this is a common cause. What is perhaps less well known is that, in the UK, advanced gum disease is responsible for more tooth loss than decay.
Whilst most people probably do brush their teeth on a daily basis and hopefully maintain regular appointments at their local dental practice, it is likely that fewer put a great deal of focus on their gums. Over a period of time, this neglect can lead to serious implications for your teeth and overall oral health.
Preventing gum disease
Many of us will have some form of gum disease in our lifetime. For the majority this is likely to be mild gingivitis. This occurs when bacteria build up in our mouth and start to affect our gums, causing symptoms such as sore gums and occasional bleeding too. Even with reasonable oral health care, this may occur at times when we are a little run down or ill. Many of us will not even realise that the problem exists and may well reverse as we recover.
These early warning signs should be taken seriously though, whether caused by an illness or not. They should act as a wake up call that all is not well and steps should be taken to improve our overall oral health.
Presuming that you already brush your teeth, and hopefully your gums too, there are a few more simple ways that you can step up your oral health care:
- Use dental floss. This is not as tricky as it might seem and there are numerous videos available online to show you how to do this (please make sure that you use a reliable source though). Our Greenwich dental hygienist is also available to offer any help with this if you do find it difficult. In addition to removing any food debris from between the teeth, it is also excellent for removing bacteria from the gum pockets.
- See the hygienist. Whilst everyday dental and gum care is your responsibility, seeing the hygienist at the Confidental Clinic two or three times a year is an excellent way to really stay on top of your oral health. Not only are they able to offer advice on how best to look after your teeth and gums, but are also able to scale and polish your teeth, removing hardened bacteria from the gum line.
And if you don’t …..
Gingivitis is uncomfortable and can also have antisocial side effects such as halitosis. This however, is mild compared to periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. Not only are gums likely to be very sore and bleed, possibly receding too, but the bacteria also attacks the bone in which the roots of your teeth are normally securely held. Should you fail to look after your teeth and gums and periodontitis does occur, the bone is likely to degrade and may no longer be capable of holding your teeth firmly in place and may cause them to become loose and fall out.
Whilst treatment for advanced gum disease is available in the form of root planing, it can be an uncomfortable procedure and is not a guaranteed success. Given the ease of avoiding gum disease with a little more care at home, backed by professional hygienist cleaning, why take the risk?
To book your appointment with the hygienist at the Confidental Clinic, please call our Greenwich practice on 020 8858 1422.