Gum health & gum treatments – your path to a healthy smile
Looking after your gums is as important as looking after your teeth. Gums are the foundations and anchors of your teeth, and they frame them. Gum health is also the starting point in any cosmetic or implant consultation, treatment can only proceed if your gums are healthy.
Gum health plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health -gum disease has been linked with general health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease and even dementia. Neglecting your gums can lead to a range of dental issues, from mild inflammation to periodontal disease which can ultimately loosen your teeth. At Wayside Dental Practice in Harpenden, St Albans & Hertfordshire we always address your gum health and offer a variety of gum treatments.
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Keeping your gums healthy makes a huge difference to your oral and overall health
Gum disease can be mild (gingivitis) to severe (periodontal disease). Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and a sign of this is bleeding while brushing. Gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease and as the disease gets worse, the bacteria move deeper into your tissue and attack the bone, making your teeth loose.
Causes of gum disease
- All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of teeth every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are harmless but some have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease.
- To remove plaque and prevent gum disease it is important to brush your teeth twice a day (not too soon after eating as you should wait for your teeth to re-mineralise to avoid damaging the enamel) and to clean between your teeth with floss and/or interdental brushes.
- Some people are more susceptible to gum disease than others, but we can’t tell who they are until they develop it, so it is best for all patients to follow a healthy regime to avoid gum disease.
Best Practices for Gum Care
Maintaining gum health requires a combination of good oral hygiene practices and a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to look after your gums:
- Regular brushing and flossing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss or use TePe brushes daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline.
- Healthy diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Restrict sugar to mealtimes (remember it’s frequency of intake rather than quantity). Avoid or restrict acidic foods- particularly fermented foods.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for gum disease. Quitting smoking can greatly improve your gum health.
- Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit your Wayside dentist and Hygienist for regular check-ups and cleanings to catch and address gum issues early.
Cosmetic treatments for gums
Gum Contouring, Sculpting and Grafting
Uneven gums or a ‘gummy smile’ can cause you to be unhappy with your smile. Correcting the size and height of the gums can help transform the look of your smile.
At Wayside we offer gum contouring or sculpting to reshape the tissue around your teeth to give you a more even gumline or to lengthen your teeth. We do this with a laser as it is more precise and minimally invasive and also accelerates healing.
If you have lost tissue around your teeth so that the root is exposed, we can offer grafting to replace the lost tissue.
Gum Health Frequently Asked Questions
Gum health is a fundamental aspect of your overall well-being. By following proper gum care practices and seeking timely dental treatment when needed, you can ensure your gums remain healthy and functional.
The first sign is blood on your toothbrush and when you spit out after cleaning. Your gums might bleed when you eat, and you might have bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth. If you notice any of these things, visit your dentist for a thorough check up of your teeth and gums. They will assess your dental health and measure the amount of gum around your teeth to see if you have any issues, such as pocketing. They might also take x-rays to see if there has been any bone loss.
People who smoke are more likely to produce the bacteria which causes gum disease. Also smoking interferes with the body’s ability to heal itself.
We have a team of hygienists who are trained to treat gum disease. They can remove biofilm and tartar from your teeth, deep clean any pockets (gaps in your gums around your teeth) with dental tools (this is known as root planing) and penetrate hard to reach areas with dental lasers. Dental lasers are excellent for gum disease as they kill bacteria and have a deeper reach. They also encourage healing and can help bone to re-grow.
Our hygienists also provide extensive oral hygiene advice as treatment will only benefit you if you follow a rigorous oral hygiene routine at home.
In more severe cases, you could need surgical treatment to remove diseased tissue and for this you might need to see a periodontist. You might also need grafting to replace the tissue lost around your gums once your disease is stable.
There is no cure as such for periodontal disease as it is an auto-immune disease characterised by an overreaction by the body’s immune system to the toxins produced by the mature plaque bacteria, but with treatment some of the effects of it can be reversed and progression can be slowed or stopped. Anyone who has had periodontal disease must brush carefully, especially between the teeth with TePe brushes and visit the hygienist regularly.
At Wayside Dental Practice, our experienced team is dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain optimal gum health for a lifetime of smiles. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a healthier mouth, or book online through our booking portal: