Oral facts and tips – gum disease

Considering it’s one of the major causes of tooth loss, it’s pretty difficult to spot the signs of gum disease. Links between gum disease and, in some cases, life-threatening illnesses are constantly developing, so taking care of your gums is vitally important.

As we all have gum disease at some point in our lives, it’s important to remember plenty can be done to ensure it does not develop into something more serious. The British Dental Health Foundation is offering the following information on gum disease:

10 FACTS ABOUT GUM DISEASE
1. There are two main types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
2. More teeth are lost through periodontal disease than tooth decay.
3. The first sign of gum disease may be bleeding when you clean your teeth.
4. All gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the surface of teeth every day.
5. Gum disease is never cured, but it can be controlled.
6. Gum disease develops painlessly, so most of the time you’ll be unaware of the damage it is causing.
7. Studies have shown regular exercise decreases the chances of developing tooth-threatening gum infections.
8. Gum disease has been linked to heart and lung disease, diabetes, strokes, cardio vascular disease, Alzheimer’s, premature and low-birth-weight babies.
9. Fertility and sexual problems have also been linked to the presence of gum disease.
10. If you have bad breath, or it becomes unpleasant over time, this may be a sign of gum disease.

5 TIPS TO HELP PREVENT GUM DISEASE
In addition to following the Foundation’s three key rules for good oral health (2), the following tips are recommended for preventing gum disease:

1. Always tell your dentist about changes to your health, as it may help them prevent gum disease from developing.
2. Clean in between your teeth using interdental brushes or floss. This will help to clean a higher portion of the tooth and prevent the build up of plaque.
3. Eat a good, healthy and balanced diet.
4. Quitting smoking will help you reduce the chances of gum disease deteriorating.
5. Use a mouthwash containing anti-bacterial to help control gum disease.

For free, confidential and impartial advice about how to improve your oral care, contact the Foundation’s Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188 or email [email protected]

Alternatively, visit the Tell Me About section of the Foundation’s website at www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/gum-disease/gum-disease.

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