Preventive: Gum Disease

Gum Disease

Did you know that the most common disease in the world is gum disease? And yet preventing it is easy and will also contribute to looking after your general health.

I have bleeding gums; is this a problem?
Sadly, most people think that it’s normal for gums to bleed when brushing their teeth. Well it’s not! It is a sign of inflammation which could be causing irreversible damage to your gums.

But it is only affecting my gums, isn’t it?
The single biggest cause of tooth loss is gum disease. This is because the gum and the bone that is attached to the tooth to keep it healthy and stable are being destroyed by the disease process. Untreated gum disease will lead to infections and premature tooth loss.

Does it also affect my general health?
Recent studies have shown that the inflammation and bacteria you find in gum disease causes the liver to produce C- Reactive Protein which is a better indicator of future heart attack and stroke than cholesterol. The bacteria also contribute to platelet clumping in the blood which further increases the risk of cardio-vascular disease. In addition to this, researchers have reported that gum disease can quadruple the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and that treating the inflammation could help stave off the disease. Researchers in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland confirmed these findings most recently with studies in 2008.

So what can I do about it?
For a complex disease with huge consequences, the key is prevention or early treatment where it is already present. This is done by having your gums assessed by your dentist, and then receiving treatment with your dentist, hygienist and possibly a specialist periodontist. The key to prevention is regular visits to get all the plaque off your teeth; the treatment involves deep cleaning of the teeth and root surfaces of all the affected teeth.

How often should I get my teeth cleaned?
Here at The Dalkey Clinic, our dental team is committed to helping you keep your teeth for life. An integral part of this will be assessing the extent of any gum disease you have, treating it effectively, and recommending what maintenance will be required to prevent it from progressing further. In most instances we recommend seeing our hygienist every 3 months. It is now generally accepted that regular hygiene visits is critical if dental disease is to be prevented.