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Gum disease (or periodontal disease) is a potentially serious dental ailment that affects millions of people every year.

There are two main types of gum disease, each of which causes a host of symptoms that if effectively managed, can reduce the risk of serious damage and even tooth loss.

From gingivitis to periodontitis

The first is a non-destructive form of gum inflammation known as gingivitis. The tell-take signs are red and swollen gums that often bleed when you brush your teeth. In most cases, you will also experience bad breath as a result.

If left untreated, gingivitis can worsen over time and become periodontitis. Thousands of adults have periodontics and don’t know it until they start to experience pain.

Periodontitis is a destructive form of gum disease that occurs when the bacteria reach deep below the gum line and attack the bone and tissues.

Periodontitis often results in pockets forming between the tooth and gum, creating a breeding ground for bacteria thus making matters worse. Advanced cases of periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, and have even been linked to serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

Prevention is better than cure

There are many preventive measures and treatment options available to help you if you are at risk of or suffering from gum disease.

The preventive measures involve everyday, common sense tips that every one is able to practice.

Scaling: Your Canberra dentists are able to scrap off the plaque and tartar deposits on the surface of your teeth using modern ultrasonic scalers.

Root planing: This helps to smoothen out the rough bacteria-infested spots of the root itself. Both scaling and root planing are essential for the removal of plaque or calculus from your teeth that are responsible for the inflammation.

These deep cleaning methods are typically used to treat mild to moderate cases of gum disease as a preventive measure to prevent the inflammation from recurring.

Fluoride toothpastes: Toothpastes that contain fluoride and triclosan may also be used to treat gum disease.

See your Canberra dentist for a regular dental check-up at least every 6 months: Gum disease is one of those ailments that can be easily managed – in this case, withantibacterial mouth washes – if spotted early. It is therefore important to go for your routine checks so that the dentist can identify any emrging problems and nip them in the butt.

Get professional dental cleaning every 6 months: This is usually done together with your twice-yearly oral exams. Dental cleaning will remove plaque and calculus before they do a number on your teeth and gums.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day: This should be plainly obvious to anyone who wishes to maintain good oral hygiene. Combine with flossing (usually before brushing) and mouth rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash as prescribed by your dentist will help keep those yucky plaque and tartar away.

Eat a well-balanced diet: A high amount of sugar in your diet encourages bacteria growth in your teeth and gums while reducing the efficiency of your immune system. Reducing your intake of sugary or high-carb foods remains one of the most effective methods of curbing or reducing the likelihood of periodontal disease.

Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption leads to dehydration that encourages the development of plaque in your mouth. It also suppresses your immune system and slows the regenerative process of the bones and tissue in your mouth.

Vitamin intake: Vitamins A, C and D help to strengthen your mouth’s defences against gum disease. Grains, vegetables, fish and fruits are all recommended staples for a nutritional diet plan.

Prescription mouth rinse: A special type of mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine – anti-microbial medication – may also be prescribed to treat gum disease. Whether in the form of mouth rinses or gels, these medications are applied to the periodontal pockets to control the bacterial infection and promote healing of the tissues.

Antibiotics: A course of antibiotics – including doxycycline, tetracycline and minocycline – may be recommended to curb or reduce bacterial build-up in the gums.

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