4 myths about gum disease

Dentist Blog

Have you ever spat out blood when brushing your teeth? This is usually the first sign of gum disease. Gum disease can start off pain free, with only a little blood to suggest that it exists, but if ignored it can result in tooth loss and damage to your jaw. Here is the truth behind four myths about gum disease to make you think twice about ignoring blood when you spit.

  1. You shouldn't brush your gums. Most people think they should only brush their teeth, but your gums and tongue should also be cleaned regularly. Bleeding gums should also be brushed, and brushing bleeding gums helps to fight the gum disease attacking them. Use a soft bristled brush to clean your gums. Flossing, to clean between the teeth, is also a good way to prevent gum disease and keep your mouth healthy.  
  2. Gum disease is rare. Actually, gum disease is very common. It's estimated that half of people over 30 years old have gum disease, ranging from mild to severe. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. If this is allowed to penetrate deeper into the soft tissue of your mouth, it is called periodontitis. Gingivitis is easily treated and reversible but once it has developed into periodontitis, the bone supporting the gums and teeth is damaged, which may result in painful abscesses and tooth loss.  
  3. Your gums bleed during pregnancy. Bleeding gums, caused by increased blood flow and a change in hormones, can be an indicator of early pregnancy. Many women accept that when they get pregnant, they will lose a tooth. This shouldn't be the case. Brushing regularly will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy. When you discover you are pregnant, you should visit your dentist to ensure that there are no oral problems. There is no evidence to suggest that gum disease can affect your unborn baby, but it's always better to be cautious.  
  4. If you keep your teeth clean, you'll never get gum disease. Cleaning your teeth is very important, but poor oral hygiene isn't the only cause of gum disease. Stress, tobacco, a poor diet and genetics can all affect your gums and cause gum disease. Try to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit rather than sweets, and stop smoking to help reduce your risk of developing gum disease.  

If you're concerned about bleeding or swollen gums, visit your dentist or periodontist, such as Dr Edmond Lobaza. If gum disease is caught early, it can be easily treated without risking pain and tooth loss.


2 January 2015

Dental Health: Not To Be Taken For Granted

As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.