Growing numbers of people are suffering from gum disease because of complacency caused by dental hygiene myths, warn oral health experts.
Too many people have been lulled into a false sense of security by common misconceptions, say the makers of Eludril mouthwash and Elgydium toothpaste.
‘We need to dispel these myths if we are to avoid the long-term problems associated with gum disease,’ said a spokesperson.
‘We should always remember that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease.
‘In addition, pregnant women with gum disease can be up to seven times more likely to have a baby born too early and too small. Also, recent research now suggests a link between gum disease and breast cancer.’
These are the most common myths surrounding oral health and gum disease:
• Myth: Tooth loss is inevitable as you get older.
Wrong – 30 years ago this may have been true but a 2009 dental health survey in England, Wales and Northern Ireland showed the percentage of people without teeth averaged under 8%, compared with 25% in the late 1970s. We are getting better at looking after our teeth and gums. False teeth are not an inevitable consequence of ageing.
• Myth: When brushing, bleeding is normal.
No – it is not. It could be a sign of gum disease. If you experience bleeding, visit your hygienist or dentist for advice.
• Myth: We brush our teeth to remove food particles.
Not entirely true. Removing food particles is only part of the story. Brushing also prevents the build-up of plaque that can cause gum disease. It is also important to floss daily as well.
• Myth: Only the sugar in sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks and chocolate is bad for our teeth.
Wrong – you should also limit consumption of dried fruit, fruit juice, sports drinks and honey, particularly between meals, as these can also cause tooth decay.
• Myth: I need to visit my dentist only if I have a problem.
Not so. You should see your dentist regularly for routine check-ups twice a year. Sometimes a dentist will identify a problem before it causes any pain so treatment can start early.
The expert advice is to look out for the following gum disease symptoms:
• Sore gums or swollen gums – an early sign gum disease (also known as gingivitis)
• Bleeding gums – seek advice, as it is not usual for gums to bleed
• Receding gums – usually an indication that gum disease has been present for some time.
‘If you spot any of the early signs of gum disease, it is important that you visit your dentist as soon as possible. They will assess the problem and recommend a gingivitis treatment that is right for you.’
As gum disease worsens, a receding gum line will potentially loosen your teeth and they may ultimately either fall out or need to be removed.
Quick, easy and effective treatments are available for those who detect gum disease early.
The main treatment for gum disease for a number of years has been chlorhexidine. This works by inhibiting the build-up of dental plaque.
Eludril – which contains 0.1% chlorhexidine – is a proven antibacterial and antifungal mouthwash.
It comes with a special measuring cup and is used diluted with warm water for maximum efficacy. Eludril is available in three different pack sizes and has a pleasant menthol flavour.
Choosing the right toothpaste is equally important.
The Elgydium toothpaste range includes Elgydium Anti-Plaque, which also contains chlorhexidine. It is proven to be effective against the key organism that causes gingivitis and gum disease.
If you have a problem with tooth decay, try Elgydium Decay Protection. Containing a unique fluoride called Fluorinol, Decay Protection provides quick and intense protection.
Also part of the range is Elgydium Whitening which provides non-abrasive polishing and in-depth cleansing due to its micropulverised sodium bicarbonate.
For sensitive teeth there is Elgydium Sensitive which contains Fluorinol. It is proven to bind five times more fluoride to the enamel than other fluoride toothpastes.
As well as looking out for the signs and symptoms of gum disease, you should also:
• Brush your teeth at least twice a day for around two minutes
• Floss every day
• Visit your dentist or hygienist regularly
• Replace your toothbrush regularly (every three or four months or as soon as the bristles look worn)
• Avoid starchy, sugary foods and drinks, as these make the problem worse
• Eat plenty of fresh foods and vegetables and avoid snacking between meals.
For further information about protecting teeth against gum disease, please contact Nikki Pounds, Ceuta Healthcare on +44 (0)1202 780558, [email protected], www.gumproblems.co.uk.