Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What is gum disease, also known as gingivitis?

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is an infection of the gums. It is caused by PLAQUE, a sticky film that collects on teeth and gums. Plaque makes acids and toxins that can make gums red, puffy, or bleed.

Over time, gum disease can cause gums to pull away from the teeth. This can form pockets between the teeth and gums. Germs can become trapped in these POCKETS, causing the BONE around the teeth to weaken.

Here are some tips to help prevent gum disease:

·         Brush teeth and gums 2 x day morning and night after meals (pay special attention to your back teeth. They are likely to have more plaque on them because they are hard to reach)

·         Floss between teeth before going to sleep

·         Brush your tongue every day

·         Change your toothbrush every 3 months – bristles that are worn remove less plaque

·         Visit your dental hygienist regularly for teeth cleanings and gum assessments

·         If your gums bleed, don’t stop brushing and flossing (use a toothbrush with soft bristles so you don’t hurt your gums. See your hygienist if the bleeding continues)

Here are some signs of gum disease:

·         Gums that are red or puffy or bleed when you brush or floss

·         Tooth pain or sensitivity

·         Persistent bad breath

·         Adult teeth that are loose or develop gaps; changes in the  way your teeth fit when you bite down – This is the most serious form of gum disease, called periodontitis (bone loss)

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