The best way to prevent gum disease from becoming a serious problem is through hygiene appointments. During a hygiene appointment, the health of your gums and teeth will be assessed. This will involve looking for any signs of swelling, inflammation or bleeding. The hygienist may also take measurements where the gum attaches to the tooth and check for signs of oral cancer.
Regularly visiting a hygienist will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums, as well as protecting your overall well-being because poor gum health has been linked to more serious conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
One of the main aspects of the hygienist’s role is to carry out a ‘scale and polish’, a thorough clean of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar build-up. Scaling (removing tartar) also makes it easier to keep teeth clean as there is no longer a rough surface to attract more plaque. This deep clean will be finished off with a polish to leave teeth shiny and smooth.
Hygienists also offer helpful hygiene advice and demonstrate how to keep your teeth clean and plaque-free with toothbrushes, interdental brushes and floss.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease causes inflammation of the tissue that surrounds teeth and, if this is left untreated, it can lead to recession of the gums. This can cause pockets to develop and eventually leads to loosening of the teeth. The cleaner your teeth, the less likely you are to develop gum disease.
Gum disease occurs when the plaque and tartar on the enamel causes bacteria to build up. The soft gum tissue becomes under attack and this causes the gums to become inflamed and likely to bleed. Bleeding gums worsens the conditions as it’s a fast-track for bacteria to enter the gum tissue. The moment you spot bleeding gums, book in for a hygiene appointment.
If gum disease is left untreated, the bacteria can start to affect the jaw bone as well as the gum tissue. This later condition is called periodontitis and isn’t curable, only treatable, which is why it’s very important to see a hygienist because the condition gets worse.