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How to prevent and treat gum problems
Posted On: 29 Jan 2014 View All Articles | Post New Article
If you have a mild case of gum disease, you may notice bleeding from the gums on brushing or even on eating, these symptoms can normally be 'reversed' by maintaining good oral hygiene. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least two times a day and flossing or using interdental brushes daily. This is because the cause of gum disease is plaque that regrows daily. The area of gums not covered by brushing daily if it was on your forearm would cover an area the size of the palm of your hand. The surfaces involved can only be reached by cleaning between the teeth.

If it is necessary, a dentist or hygienist can give your mouth a thorough clean and remove tartar from the teeth. Also your dentist or hygienist can advise you on how to effectively clean your teeth in order to prevent plaque building up in the future.

Good Oral Hygiene

The best way to treat gum disease is to always practice good oral hygiene. This involves:

    Brushing your teeth for between 2-3 minutes twice a day (once in the morning and a second time at night before you go to bed)
    Using an electric toothbrush if possible - this is unless you have ANUG which is an extreme case of gum disease. ANUG causes painful ulcers which means you should use a soft toothbrush so that you do not irritate further
    Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride (fluoride is a natural mineral which protects against tooth decay)
    Flossing your teeth regularly (recommended daily)
    Not smoking
    Visiting your dentist about every six months
    Use a Mouthwash

It is recommended that you use mouthwash to help control the build-up of plaque. This is important because plaque contains some bad bacteria which irritates the gums making them sore resulting in gum disease. A large proportion of plaque grows on the tongue, it is not affected by brushing and interdental cleaning. This plaque can be countered by mouthwash and tongue cleaning. You dentist will be able to recommended the type of mouthwash that you should be using, how to use it and tongue cleaning.

Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis

ANUG is thankfully now a rare severe gum disease which needs to be treated by the dentist. Preliminary treatment involves specific antibiotics that target the causative spirochete.

The appropriate antibiotic is metronidazole. It will stop the pain very rapidly within a day. However this is only an interim treatment. To avoid recurrence and further gum destruction. You need professional care from a dentist or hygienist.

This disease has for the moment disappeared from the UK for several years. It may however return. In the 1980s we saw cases every month. Most gum disease is painless until it has progressed to the stage where extractions are required. Vigilance is the best way to avoid the worst effects. See a good hygienist. If you are told that you need to have your teeth removed because of gum disease, get a second opinion. The ability to treat gum disease varies between practitioners.

Dental Treatments:

The following treatments may be used to treat gingivitis, periodontists and ANUG:

    Scale and polishing - this professional clean carried out by a dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar
    Root planning - some cases of gingivitis or periodontitis may require root planning which is a deep clean under the gums to get rid of any bacteria that is underneath your teeth.
    Periodontal surgery - this is for severe gum disease as in some cases it may be necessary to remove an affected tooth.

Untreated Gum Disease:

Untreated gum disease can lead to further complications such as:

    loss of teeth
    receding gums
    loose feeling teeth
    gum abscesses (collections of pus that are very painful)
    damage to the periodontal ligament (the tissue that connects you tooth to its socket)
    damage to the alveolar bone (this is the bone in your jaw which contains the sockets of the teeth)

If you suspect that you may have gum disease you should visit your dentist. However in order to prevent getting the disease, you should maintain good oral hygiene.

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Posted By: Patricia Louis
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This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Meetphysicians, nor the author take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
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