Gum disease can often be cured with help from your dentist, however prevention is always better than cure as you know. Before we look at how to cure gum disease, lets look at what exactly it is.
Firstly, plenty of people suffer from gum disease and it is important to know that it can affect anyone. The implications of not treating gum disease seriously can be quite damaging, and it is believed that around 15% of the population may suffer from gum disease to the extent that they lose their teeth.
What is gum disease?
One of the things to be aware of with respect to gum disease is that it is an extremely common condition. Gum disease causes gums to become infected, sore or swollen. Although exact figures for the amount of people suffering from gum disease is hard to obtain, it is estimated that over 50% of all adults in the UK summer from the problem and it is likely that people will suffer from it at least once in their life. The percentage of gum disease in children is considerably lower.
Gum disease may result in bad breath or you may find that your gums bleed when they are being brushed. If this is the case, you are suffering from the condition known as gingivitis. If this condition is not effectively treated, you are likely to experience periodontitis. This is a condition that impacts on the tissue that your holds your teeth in place and supports them. It is believed that around 80% of the population may suffer from periodontitis at some point in their life, and 15% of the UK population will suffer from it to such an extent that they will lose teeth. Given the serious implications of gum disease, knowing how to cure gum disease is hugely important.
Symptoms of gum disease
The first symptoms of gum disease can include bleeding gums when your floss or brush or just the fact that your gums may be red and swollen. This is the stage where gingivitis is setting in. Healthy gums will be pink, not sore to touch and will not bleed when brushed.
Advanced symptoms of gum disease can include bad breath, having an unpleasant taste in your mouth, your teeth feeling loose and even suffering from abscesses in your mouth.
When it comes to extreme cases of gum disease, you will want to look out for:
- Gums that are extremely painful, including noticeable bleeding
- Ulcers that are painful
- Gums that are receding between your teeth
- Bad breath
- Having the taste of metal in your mouth
- Suffering from an excessive amount of saliva in your mouth
- Having difficulty in talking or swallowing
- Having a high temperature
What causes gum disease?
While there are a number of elements that can cause gum disease, a poor level of oral hygiene is likely to be the most common cause. Not brushing your teeth on a regular basis or in a proper manner will lead to plaque building up your teeth. Plaque is what breaks down the surface of your teeth and it can cause decay in the condition of your teeth.
Other aspects that can cause gum disease include:
- Your age, with gum disease becoming more common as you become older
- Gum disease running in your family
- An immune system that has been weakened
Treatments and how to cure gum disease
If you are suffering from gum disease, it is important you visit a dentist or dental hygienist for the most effective support. One of the most common treatments is a scale and polish while there are more serious and heavy duty treatments available to provide relief and support for harder cases of gum disease.
Scale and polish
This is where your dentist or dental hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar, which is just hardened plaque, from your teeth. They will use special instruments that will scrape away the plaque from the gum line and then polish your teeth to remove any bad stains. If you have a particularly bad case you may need to return for a second treatment.
Costs can vary privately but with the NHS a standard treatment (band 1) is £18 and £49 for a more intense treatment (band 2).
You can find more about NHS dental charges here.
For some more serious cases the treatment or cure for gum disease root planing. This is debridement, removal of dead tissue. This involves the deep cleaning of bacteria under the gums and at the root of your teeth. A local anaesthetic my be required prior to the treatment and you may be in a little discomfort for a couple of days afterwards.
Further advanced treatment
Severe cases of gum disease may need periodontal surgery and in some cases you may need a tooth removing. This would not be carried out by your dentist but they can tell you what you need to do and refer you to a specialist.
Prevention of gum disease
Treatment can help but of course, the best way to tackle gum disease is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Plaque can be prevented from being built up by brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis. Using mouthwash can also help. If the build-up of plaque leads to tartar, there is a need to visit a dental hygienist or a dentist to have your mouth effectively cleaned.
Good oral hygiene
Rather than having to cure gum disease, prevent it! Good oral hygiene is the first step in preventing gum disease. By this we mean:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Brush for 2 to 3 minutes in the morning and evening and think about using an electric toothbrush if you can.
- Use a toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Fluoride helps protect you from tooth decay.
- Don’t smoke!
- Floss daily – this removes plaque from in between tour teeth, not just food.
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis. The NHS recommend at least once every two years, more so if necessary.
There is debate on the effectiveness of mouth wash for preventing or curing gum disease. As an all round good oral hygiene routine mouthwash is a good thing. You can get over the counter mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine or hexetidine, both of which are claimed to help reduce and prevent build up of plaque. This in turn helps prevent gum disease. You should always rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing your teeth and before using mouthwash. This is because some toothpastes contain ingredients that may prevent the mouth wash from working. If you are not sure what type of mouth wash you should use, just ask your dentist and they will tell you what is best for you and your teeth.
So I know you wanted to know how to cure gum disease, but you see it depends on the severity of the problem. Prevention is far better than cure, as is with any medical problem. Hopefully you can use some of this advise. But if you think you have a problem that wont go away with a good dental routine, then do go and visit your dentist please before it gets too serious!