If you love your beautiful smile, you will start hating it if you fail to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Poor dental care can lead to gum disease, especially during your 30s and 40s. Even though teenagers can develop minor symptoms with time and prolonged neglect, plaque build-up can actually result in tooth loss or worse.
What Causes Gum Disease
There are two types of gum disease, and they are correlated, namely gingivitis and periodontal disease. If you have the former, you will also get the latter if you keep ignoring your oral hygiene. Subsequently, these diseases result in tooth loss. Besides the plaque build-up, here are some common factors that can increase your chances of getting either of these gum diseases:
- Smoking and tobacco use, both of which can prevent damaged gum tissue from healing or regenerating.
- Hormonal changes during menopause, pregnancy or puberty. Some hormones can open up the gums to bacteria and chemicals that can damage them. During puberty, this risk increases to about 90%.
- Crowded, crooked, or rotated teeth create room for plaque build-up. Since those areas are mostly hidden, they are difficult to clean.
- Excessive alcohol consumption. The sugar in alcohol mixes with the bacteria in your mouth to form plaque, which softens enamel and opens the tooth up to decay.
- Stress can impair the body’s response to bacterial invasion, which, in turn, allows decay and infection to set in.
- Excessive mouth breathing can dry out the gums leading to inflammation and chronic irritation.
- Certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can open you up to infection and gum disease.
- Poor nutrition, such as a sugar-laden diet and low water intake, can increase plaque.
- Vitamin C deficiency can prevent healing, which can lead to periodontal disease.
- Poor saliva production can contribute to the formation of plaque. Saliva is responsible for washing away food particles during and after a meal, and low volumes can create a build-up that can lead to plaque formation.
- Certain medication, such as those that are used to treat seizures, can lead to gum disease.
To understand how you can prevent your beautiful smile from losing its charm, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the stages of gum disease and how you can prevent them. There are basically 2 that you need to be wary of:
What Is Gingivitis?
If you have a history of poor oral health, one of the first diseases you can get is gingivitis. It is the first stage of gum disease characterised by inflamed gums. Gingivitis affects the tissue surrounding the teeth, and the severity of the condition is based on the severity of the inflammation. Common signs and symptoms of this stage of gum disease include the following:
The gums turn red, swell up, and are sensitive to the touch. This happens when the plaque that has built up in the mouth releases toxins on the gum line and irritates gum tissue.
Teeth Look Larger
The gum line starts to recede, revealing more of the teeth which should otherwise be covered with healthy gum, thus making them look longer.
Foul or bad breath which refuses to go despite care is one of the most common signs of gingivitis. It is often accompanied by an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
With time, plaque can create a pocket or open up a gap between the tooth and gum. If your teeth have more than one pocket, chances are your gums are sensitive to the touch, and infection or gingivitis is imminent.
Pus Development between Tooth and Gum
With time and lack of treatment, thick, yellow fluid called pus can develop between the gum and teeth, especially if your teeth have gaps in between. At this stage, the disease may have progressed to a gum abscess.
If sipping a cool or hot drink makes your teeth tingle with pain, chances are your gum health is lacking. This can happen when the gums start to shrink, exposing dentin which is a soft bone-like structure that is protected by hard enamel in its healthy state. However, when the gums shrink, it gets exposed to anything we consume.
How to Prevent Gingivitis
The good news is that you can prevent your teeth from getting to this point and/or develop gingivitis by practising a few oral care tips such as the following:
Use Anti-Bacterial Toothpaste
Anti-bacterial toothpaste has a formulation that prevents plaque formation, and it should be a part of your oral hygiene routine. If you are prone to gum disease, ask your dentist which gingivitis toothpaste you should use. This product can neutralise plaque and prevent it from compromising your gum health.
Use an Anti-Bacterial Mouthwash
A normal toothbrush can only do so much, but an anti-bacterial mouthwash reach places that it can’t. So, make sure that you use it after every brushing regime.
Improve Your Brushing Technique
You should brush for at least 2 minutes twice a day every day for optimal oral health. An electric toothbrush can make this easier to manage and ensure you can get into those hard to reach places for a healthier gum line.
While brushing, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and make short, circular strokes for maximum coverage. Cover the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth as you brush.
Use floss at the end of your oral hygiene regimen to dislodge food particles that your brush may have missed; do this before rinsing out your mouth with mouthwash. Use about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around the middle finger of one hand and a small amount on the middle finger of the other hand. Take out more floss as you proceed and make sure it curves in a C shape at the gum line so it can slide between the gums and the teeth.
If you fail to maintain your oral hygiene, are sick, or are on medication that weakens gums, your gingivitis may turn into periodontal disease, a severe form of gum disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease or periodontitis is chronic inflammation of the gums and other structures that keep teeth in place. It is caused by periodontal bacteria, which only increase when conditions are ideal for growth. It thrives on the plaque that is left undisturbed, which is often present in hard-to-reach places of the mouth and areas that don’t get cleaned thoroughly or regularly.
Dangerous forms of the bacteria can stimulate the body’s inflammatory response which can eventually disintegrate the jaw and result in tooth loss. This process is gradual and can be prevented with timely treatment or regular oral care.
Periodontal disease is broken up into 4 stages, the first of which is the aforementioned gingivitis. The following are the remaining 3 stages that follow if the disease is allowed to fester:
Slight Periodontal Disease
This is the second stage of periodontal disease which is reversible with timely treatment. In this stage, the infection reaches the bone region, destroying it as the bacteria evolves and becomes more aggressive. The common signs of this stage include red gums, bleeding while brushing, bad breath, and gaps.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
The next stage of the disease is irreversible and leads to larger gaps that allow more bacteria to infiltrate the bones and the bloodstream. At this stage, you may have to undergo deep cleaning, such as scaling and root planning, to remove bacteria deposits in your gums. If left untreated, bone and tooth loss is imminent.
At this stage, the disease is still reversible with a professional cleaning followed by daily flossing and brushing.
Advanced Periodontal Disease
The final stage of this gum disease occurs when the infection gets so bad that it allows the bacteria to evolve, leading to bone loss. Common signs and symptoms of this stage include redness, pus-filled gums, loose teeth, pain while chewing, halitosis, and cold sensitivity. Surgery is important during this stage since that is the only treatment that can clean out bacteria-filled pockets. Neglect at this stage can lead to large gaps between the teeth, receding gums, and other problems that can force the patient to use dentures.
If left untreated, advanced periodontal disease can kill more than your smile. At this stage, the bacteria in your teeth can get into the bloodstream when the gums are inflamed. There, they can mix with platelets and form clots in blood vessels, which can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. The bacteria can also travel to the stomach and cause ulcers, especially in people who are diabetic or have high blood glucose levels.
How the Denticare Smart Sonic Toothbrush Can Help
The good news is that you can prevent both gum diseases from setting in by opting for smarter brushing solutions, like the Denticare Smart Sonic Toothbrush. Available from Qutek Wellbeing, the smart brush is designed to optimise brushing skills and allow users to track their oral health in real-time. Here are some of the features this innovative toothbrush offers:
- Smart timer to ensure you brush for at least 2 minutes
- 40,000 brush strokes per minute
- Removes plaque and stains to strengthen teeth
- Ergonomic design to prevent wrist strain.
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- 32 anti-bacterial bristles
- Comes with a smart app that detects 16 brushing zones and 6 axis
- FDA, ROHS and CE-approved
Multiple modes make this smart toothbrush a must-have for a family that wants to remain healthy. The first mode cleans the mouth in swift and steady strokes. The second mode scrubs off stubborn stains, such as the ones left by coffee, to prevent plaque build-up. Last but not least, the third mode gives teeth a solid scrubbing to bring out their natural sheen and smooth surface.
If you have sensitive gums or have gingivitis, the fourth mode is for you. This mode gives teeth a smooth, gentle, and thorough scrubbing; it also promotes gum health through stimulation without damaging sensitive gums. If your teeth are a bit worse for wear or hypersensitive, use mode five which offers a thorough, but incredibly soft cleaning experience.
The power of this smart sonic toothbrush lies in its bristles. With over 32 to a head, these are designed to provide tooth by tooth coverage without damaging the enamel or exposed dentin. These are also time reactive, which means that they will fade after 3 months – an indication that it is time to replace the head. This prevents the risk of infection and ensures optimal dental care for each user.
Your oral health can either help you lead a healthy life or a disease-ridden one, depending on how well you maintain it. Prevent diseases from taking refuge in your mouth with regular dental checkups and by replacing your toothbrush with smarter options.