WHAT IS GUM DIS­EASE AND WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Good Health (Australia) - - Be Informed -

Heitz says gum dis­ease can be di­vided into two dif­fer­ent dis­eases: gin­givi­tis and pe­ri­odon­ti­tis. Signs of gin­givi­tis in­clude swelling, red­ness and bleed­ing gums.

“In se­vere cases, bleed­ing can be spon­ta­neous, but more of­ten bleed­ing is only no­ticed when clean­ing the teeth,” says Heitz.

Floss­ing is key

Gin­givi­tis can be re­versed but, if left un­treated, can lead to a more se­ri­ous form of gum dis­ease known as pe­ri­odon­ti­tis. The symp­toms of pe­ri­odon­ti­tis in­clude teeth be­com­ing loose or drift­ing out of po­si­tion. De­spite com­mon be­liefs, Heitz stresses pain is not usu­ally a symp­tom of pe­ri­odon­ti­tis.

“This is part of the prob­lem. Many peo­ple rely on pain to be an in­di­ca­tor of dis­ease think­ing ‘no pain’ equals ‘no prob­lem’. Thus, gum dis­eases can sneak up on you,” he says.

Pre­vent­ing gum dis­ease is sim­ple enough: clean your teeth well. How­ever, clean­ing doesn’t just mean brush­ing. Heitz stresses if you’re just brush­ing your teeth, you’re only do­ing half the job. Clean­ing in be­tween your teeth as care­fully as on the sur­face is crit­i­cal as this is where most of the dis­ease hap­pens.

“If we could get peo­ple to floss with as much ef­fec­tive­ness as brush­ing, a lot of the den­tal prob­lems we see would dis­ap­pear,” Heitz claims.

Tackle it as a team

He also stresses the im­por­tance of work­ing with your den­tist and den­tal hy­gien­ist as a team.

“Don’t just let them clean your teeth: get them to coach you how to keep your teeth and gums clean at home.” So while the jury is out about the links be­tween gum dis­ease and heart dis­ease, en­sur­ing your teeth and gums are in good shape is a key com­po­nent in look­ing af­ter your over­all health.

‘many peo­ple rely on pain to be an in­di­ca­tor of dis­ease... thus, gum dis­eases can sneak up on you’

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