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How do I know if I have gum disease?

Most people associate dental problems with issues such as decay or a broken tooth, however poor gum health is just as common! This can be responsible for not only discomfort but also potentially tooth loss if the problem is ignored.

While issues with the teeth are often fairly obvious, such as toothache, gum health issues can sometimes be less easy to detect, especially in its early stages. This is why it is so important to attend the practice for regular dental health reviews so that it can be diagnosed and treated early.

Soreness and discomfort

It is easy to ignore a little soreness of the gums. If you have any soreness that last for more than a few days or if you feel any discomfort when you are eating it is likely that poor gum health is the problem.

Inflammation and redness

A more visual sign that you might have either gingivitis or periodontitis is if you can see that your gums appear to be swollen and red and not the healthy pink colour that they should be. If your gums are red or inflamed, please book into to see us as soon as possible.

Bleeding gums

This is one of the symptoms perhaps more familiar to our patients. This is a likely sign of gum disease but by no means the only one. Don’t ignore blood after brushing your teeth or you may be storing up bigger problems for the future.

Loose teeth

If your teeth start to become loose, there is definitely a problem. If it does prove to be gum disease then it is likely that it is a more advanced stage known as periodontitis. You should see your dentist straight away if your teeth are loose in order to reduce the risk of losing them.

Bad breath

Friends or family members might notice this a long time before you do. If they tell you that you have bad breath, you should investigate this further. It may have been something that you ate but this would not create long term bad breath. If the problem is persistent, your gums are likely to be the cause so make sure to see the dentist and hygienist.

Keeping your gums healthy

The above symptoms are unpleasant but the good news is that gum disease is controllable. There is much that you can do to prevent the development of gum disease at home. It is also worth remembering that gum disease can be a ‘silent’ problem in that you may not have any obvious symptoms, but that doesn’t mean that harm isn’t being done to your teeth and gums. This is why you should visit the Hermitage Dental Practice for a dental health review every six months, even if no obvious issues are present.

The most important thing that you can do to maintain healthy gums is to have a good home cleaning regime. You should brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes (preferably with an electric one) before you go to bed and at one other time and also floss or use interdental brushes/alternative cleaner between your teeth. Don’t eat or drink anything but water after your night time clean.

We can help too. Even with the best home cleaning, some bacteria will remain on the teeth and form a hard crust known as tartar or calculus. This can only be removed by our hygienists using a procedure known as a scale and polish. They will also offer advice on improvements that you can make to your oral health.

You should visit the dentist and hygienist at six monthly intervals unless we suggest more frequent visits. This would apply more to those at a higher risk due to medical conditions such as diabetes and those patients diagnosed with periodontal disease.

Make sure that you have your appointments booked and if not, please call the Hermitage Dental Practice on 01530 510533.

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