Making sure your gums are healthy is just as important as taking care of your actual teeth. Ideally, your gums should form a tight seal with your teeth that bacteria can’t penetrate.
Your gums should be firm, and shouldn’t bleed after brushing or flossing. They’re usually a light shade of pink, though this can vary slightly according to ethnic origin.
Gingivitis, inflammation of the gums, is caused by bacteria in plaque that builds up along the gum line. Inflamed gums are red, swollen, and bleed when brushed. Gingivitis can usually be treated by removing the bacterial plaque causing the inflammation. For mild cases of gingivitis, effective, regular brushing and flossing is enough to resolve the problem.
Periodontitis is inflammation of the periodontium, or the tissues that support the teeth. Periodontitis can often follow gingivitis, if this is left untreated. With periodontitis, the inflammation of the gums spreads, affecting the tissue and bones that hold your teeth in place. This can result in receding gums. loosened teeth, and eventual tooth loss. The disease can be treated by thorough removal of the plaque. However, this often requires significant professional treatment from our clinical team.
Although periodontitis is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, several other risk factors, including diabetes, smoking and inherited susceptibility, also increase the likelihood of developing and influence the severity of the disease.
To make sure that your gums stay healthy, it’s essential to brush and floss regularly, paying close attention to the area where the teeth and gums meet. This care should be supplemented by regular trips to the hygienist for professional cleaning, particularly as it can be hard to detect periodontitis in its early stages.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is the unpleasant odour exhaled in breathing. It’s the third most common reason that people seek dental care, so this clearly a problem that concerns many people.
Bad breath usually comes from your mouth. Some foods, such as garlic, onions, meat, fish, and cheese, contribute to bad breath, but there are less obvious causes, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, dehydration and obesity. The most frequent dental causes are cavities, periodontal disease and the lack of effective oral hygiene.
Respiratory and gastroesophageal (digestive) problems are less common causes of bad breath. Respiratory causes can involve your nasal passages, throat, trachea, bronchi and lungs, and may include problems such as tonsillitis, sinusitis, bronchiectasis, and infection in any of these areas. Gastroesophageal – or digestive – causes are actually extremely rare (with the exception of belching), as foods do not usually affect our breath once they have reached the stomach.
Halitosis is often worse in the morning – the classic “morning breath” – as your mouth produces less saliva during the night. This is often short-lived, and can usually be cured by brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, or even simply by eating.
Bad breath can usually be prevented by proper dental hygiene – including cleaning your tongue, and visiting the hygienist regularly. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly.
Chronic bad breath, however, affects roughly a quarter of the population. If good dental hygiene and the treatment of dental disease doesn’t solve the problem of bad breath a visit to your doctor may be needed, to make sure that the halitosis is not a symptom of a more serious problem.
You can download our white paper on the causes of bad breath for free by clicking here!