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Tips for looking after your gums between dentist visits

When it comes to the health of your mouth, it’s not about how white, or how straight your teeth are. You can NEVER forget about your gums. Even if you are fortunate enough not to have a filling in your mouth and a naturally white smile it doesn’t mean you are immune to gum disease.

Gum disease is usually painless, and most people don’t even realise they have an issue with their gums.

What IS gum disease?

Gum disease starts when plaque builds up under and along your gum line, the plaque is filled with bacteria that can cause infections that can hurt not just the gums, but bone as well which leads to gum disease and tooth decay. Plaque can cause gingivitis – the earliest stage of gum disease.

Gingivitis can cause your gums to:

  • Become inflamed
  • Bleed
  • Turn red
  • Swell
  • Be tender to the touch

Fortunately, as the bone and tissue that holds your teeth in place aren’t impacted, any damage is reversible.

Periodontitis, however, is an advanced form of gum disease which impacts on the bone that holds your teeth in place, if untreated it can ruin the gum, bones and tissues connected to your teeth.

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Signs that you may have gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Separating or loose permanent teeth
  • Gums that are red, swollen or tender
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Constant bad taste in your mouth – or bad breath

Gum disease is preventable – here is how you can look after your gums between visits with your dentist:

FLOSS – flossing at least once a day helps remove plaque and food that your toothbrush can’t reach

GET YOUR TEETH CLEANED REGULARLY – Your dentist can detect early signs of gum disease, but, only if you see them on a regular basis. This way symptoms can be treated before the issue becomes more serious. Professional cleaning is the ONLY way to remove tartar and plaque – missed when brushing and flossing.

STOP SMOKING – smoking is strongly linked with the onset of gum disease, it weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight off a gum infection. Smoking also makes it harder for your gums to heal, once they have been damaged.

BRUSH YOUR TEETH TWICE A DAY – brushing your teeth after every meal helps remove food and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums, scrub your tongue too as it can harbour bacteria.

USE A FLOURIDE TOOTHPASTE – make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride. There are so many types, and brands of toothpaste out there – from fresh breath to whitening, the flavour and colour you choose is up to you, as long as it contains fluoride.

USE A MOUTHWASH – rinsing with mouthwash helps remove food particles from your mouth, while it isn’t as effective as flossing.

It doesn’t matter if you brush, floss or use a mouthwash – just do the job correctly to look after both your teeth and gums.

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