When it comes to dental health, many people think that the focus only has to be on the maintenance of the health and hygiene of the teeth only. However, gum health is just as important as the health of teeth, if not more. The gums, also known as gingiva, is the soft and hard tissue located in the oral cavity in which the teeth sit. As gum disease is often painless, a lot of patients do not notice it until it produces severe symptoms. Healthy gums are characterised by a healthy looking, pink colour and hard texture. There are a number of symptoms you should look out for that may be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease can affect anyone; however, its risk is greatly reducible by practicing good oral hygiene and some other habits which will be detailed below. If you suspect you have some form of gum disease, book a consultation appointment with our dentist in Marylebone.
How does gum disease work and what are the symptoms to look out for?
The pathogenesis of gum disease has become quite clear with the advancements of modern medicine and immunology. Gum disease usually starts when plaque starts to grow and accumulate right on the gumline and under the gums, stuck on the surface of the teeth. Dental plaque is a bacterial mass that grows inside the mouth. It is a result of the accumulation and overgrowth of certain bacterial species; which naturally inhabit the mouth and form the microflora of the oral cavity. These bacteria at low levels are not pathogenic, however their main nutrient is sugar, which is very frequent in the modern western diet. The sugar rich environment of the mouth provides a perfect niche for these species, which can result in their proliferation and overgrowth, which visibly manifests as dental plaques. The bacteria of the dental plaques can infect the tissue of the gum, to which the immune system responds with inflammation. During inflammation, the capillary blood vessels of the gum become more dilated, which increases the tissues blood perfusion in order to allow more white blood cells to be present at the area of the infection. This results in the gingiva becoming red, painful and swollen, and it may bleed more easily during regular processes, such as brushing teeth or eating. The inflammation of the gum is called gingivitis, which is a condition that is reversible at this stage. If left untreated, it can result in periodontitis, which is a much more serious condition, resulting in the degradation of the bones and tissues holding the teeth in place. This can result in tooth loss.
How to keep your gum healthy
The most important thing when it comes to the maintenance of gum health is regularly taking care of oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth at twice a day, or after each meal you have. Brushing the tongue and the gumline with a soft toothbrush is also important, as these can be perfect places for bacteria to grow. Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride and minerals may be helpful to maintain the health of your gum. You may also consider booking an appointment at our dentist in Marylebone.