Like other sections of the body, your mouth is swarming with bacteria, most of which are harmless. Basically, a combination of your body’s natural defences and proper dental care practises, such as daily brushing and flossing, is sufficient to keep those bacteria under control. But without proper oral hygiene, the bacteria can reach dangerous levels that may lead to oral infections such as gum disease and tooth decay.
Dangers of gum disease
While gum problems are mainly caused by the build-up of bacteria, associated with poor dental care & oral hygiene, between your teeth and around the gums, there are certain factors that can make you more prone to gum disease, like pregnancy, chronic illness, and a weak immune system.
Gum disease is not only bad for your mouth, but it is also associated with serious health problems affecting other parts of your body. According to the Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, there is plenty of scientific evidence suggesting that gum disease increase one’s susceptibility to a variety of other health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Initial symptoms of gum disease
Gum complications rarely cause pain during the initial stages, so it is essential that you check your teeth and gums while flossing to detect early signs of trouble, such as:
1.Red and Inflamed Gums
One of the first signs of gum disease is soft and swollen gums. This condition is usually painless, which causes people to ignore it as a symptom of gum disease. But healthy gums are firm and do not pull away from the teeth. If left untreated, however, gum inflammation can result in more severe complications.
2. Bleeding Gums
If brushing and flossing ends with your gums bleeding, then this should alert you that there is something wrong with your teeth. Many people ignore the bleeding as a sign of aggressive brushing, but this could actually be an indication that your gums are not healthy. To avoid any confusion, try applying minimal pressure when brushing to see if there will still be signs of blood on the bristles.
3. Receding Gums
Gum recession is usually characterised by longer teeth due to exposure of more of the tooth. So, if you notice that you can see more of your tooth than normal, this could be a sign of advanced gingivitis, or periodontitis.
While the first two signs of gum disease or gingivitis are reversible, periodontitis is not reversible. This is because it usually involves damage to the underlying tooth support structure, which appears as recession. Other signs of periodontitis include bad breath, gum abscesses, and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. If no measures are taken to address the disease and stop the gum recession, it can lead to tooth loss.
Caring for your Gums
Generally, proper dental care and oral hygiene, which entails using an electric toothbrush to apply adequate pressure, brushing your teeth properly, and taking good care of your gums, is sufficient to prevent and treat gum disease, boost your overall health, and reduce the risk of other health problems.
Besides brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes per session, using an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, you should also visit your dental hygienist regularly for cleaning and check-ups.