If your gums are red or swollen, or if you notice blood after brushing or flossing, you may have gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease). According to Gum Disease Information Bureau, the said condition is extremely common in the UK, affecting three of four adults over 35. Note that gum disease is not a form of tooth decay, but is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
Healthy gums are light pink in colour, but they can turn red and irritated when you have too much plaque on your teeth. This may be due to poor oral habits or improper brushing and flossing techniques. If you don’t brush or floss regularly, bacteria and food particles can stick between teeth and gums, allowing more bacteria to multiply and turn into dental plaque.
When Plaque Hardens
Paddington dentists, Dentist @ W2 note that when plaque accumulates and builds up along the gum line, it can harden into tartar (also called calculus) if not removed regularly. Apart from being rough and porous, tartar can also contribute to receding gums and gum disease. The sad part about hardened plaque is that only a dentist or a dental hygienist can remove it.
The good news about bacterial infection due to gingivitis is that you can reverse it and prevent it from worsening. Improving oral hygiene is important, which can mean using a soft-bristled brush and gentle strokes when brushing your teeth. Proper flossing is also important to remove plaque that a toothbrush can’t reach. You can use interdental cleaners or picks if you don’t like flossing.
Apart from harming your heart and lungs, the habit also compromises your teeth and gums. Both smoking and using smokeless tobacco increase your risk of having more dental plaque, which can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Smoking, furthermore, can make gum disease worse. Quit smoking as soon as possible.
Apart from proper brushing and flossing, it is also best to visit your dentist every six months. This is to clean teeth, remove tartar, and detect other oral health problems. Eating a well-balanced diet or avoiding foods high in sugar, starch, and acid is beneficial.