Oral Hygiene and Gum Disease

Oral Hygiene and Gum Disease

Oral hygiene is absolutely key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Our hygiene programme at ProDent Care ensures patients have the build-up of deposits and plaque removed from their teeth on a regular basis.

We assess and advise on the best ways to keep the teeth and gums healthy on a daily basis. We also tailor dietary advice to the very young and to the elderly as best suit the individual in minimising the development of dental decay and gum disease.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults worldwide. Its treatment and control is the vital for the longevity of a good dentition. Gum disease is caused by excessive bacteria building up in the mouth. These bacteria and its by-products are called plaque which if left in the mouth too long will harden into a scale called calculus or tartar. Gum disease can be incredibly painful and if allowed to progress it can cause destruction of the underlying bone, recession of the gums and ultimately the loss of the tooth.

At ProDent Care our team work together to control the effects of gum disease in patients. Treatment involves the thorough removal of plaque and sometimes the use of topical antibiotics. In some circumstances surgical intervention is necessary.

Obviously dental prevention is better than cure and the most effective way to combat gum disease is to prevent it. We encourage and assist patients in developing a regular maintenance programme both at home and in conjunction with our team.


What is gum disease?
Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two forms of gums disease, gingivitis and periodontal disease.

What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.

What is periodontal disease?
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. In fact, more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay.

Am I likely to suffer from gum disease?
Probably. Most people suffer from some form of gum disease and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.

What is the cause of gum disease?
All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums everyday. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been to be the main causes of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth everyday. This is done by brushing and flossing.

How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?
Smoking can also make gum disease worse. Patients who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads t gum disease. The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums fail to heal. Smoking causes people to have more dental plaque and for gum disease so progress more rapidly than in non-smokers. Gum disease still remains the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do not notice the damage it is causing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can be more difficult.

How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the tooth brush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.

What do I do if I think I have gum disease?
The first thing to do is visit us for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. The ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth is measured to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed to you.

What treatments are needed?
We will usually clean your teeth. You will be shown how to remove plaque successfully yourself. This may cleaning all surfaces of your teeth thorough and effectively. This may take a number of sessions. You might also need root planing: removing the last pockets of bacteria. The treatment area would be numbed and you might feel some discomfort for up to before 48 hours.

Once I have had periodontal disease, can I get it again?
The periodontal disease is never cured. But as long as you keep up the home care, any further loss of bone will be very slowly or it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque everyday, and come for a regular check-up. Periapical radiograph showing bone loss around lower anterior teeth.