All of us know the basic rules of gum and teeth health – brush your teeth twice a day, floss and rinse with mouth wash. While those rules are essential in keeping our hygiene and ultimately our dental health in check, most of us might have habits that hinder it. Habits such as smoking, eating a lot of sugar, drinking alcohol regularly can be harming to our dental health, and our overall health as well.
Having healthy gums is quite important as you can imagine – having gum infection can be triggering for bacteria growth and even our immune system. You might not know but gum infections are linked to a variety of health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, endocarditis, pneumonia, and pregnancy complications.
So, in this article you’ll read the most important information on gum infection and what can you do to prevent and treat them.
What’s gum infection?
The most common types of gum infection are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a type of gum inflammation developed by bacteria in the plaque. Plaque forms when we don’t clean our teeth properly which can harden over time and develop into gingivitis. A common symptom of gingivitis is bleeding when brushing your teeth.
Periodontitis is a gum infection often developed by untreated gingivitis. Periodontitis often causes the gums to recede which can lead to teeth loss.
How can I prevent getting gum disease?
As one of the best gum specialists in Singapore, Dr Marlene Teo, likes to say – the best gum infection treatment is prevention. First and foremost, having good oral hygiene should be a top priority if you don’t want any gum disease. But there are several other factors you can implement in your lifestyle to make sure you stay dental health is on point.
- Have regular dental check-ups: Having regular visits to your dentist (twice a year) will ensure that whatever concern you have, it will be dealt with on time.
- Stop smoking: It’s a well-known fact that smoking is bad for your lungs but it’s bad for your gum health as well. It increases inflammation and reduces the immune system which makes it harder for the body to fight infections. It also reduces blood supply which makes it harder to fight gingivitis if you have it. According to one scientific study performed by (), smokers are more likely to suffer periodontitis. That includes smokeless tobacco as well – it causes many oral conditions including periodontitis, cancer and delayed healing.
- Reduce your sugar: It’s also a fact that sugar is bad for your teeth. Sugar has a direct connection to poor oral health because combined with saliva and bacteria already present in the mouth, sugar leads to plaque. This in itself can lead to poor gum health and overall health because the bacteria that cause periodontitis can travel to other organs such as the liver and lungs. So, reduce your sugar. Or if you want to eat that chocolate and can’t brush your teeth directly after, rinse with water. This can reduce bacteria by 30%.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Having a balanced diet is crucial for overall health. Proper nutrition of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and good sources of protein (lean meat, fish, beans) is one of the key factors to maximize your health. Having a diet rich in vitamins can ensure your immune system is working properly to fight off infections.
How do you treat gum infection?
If you detect gingivitis early enough you can treat it with dental procedures such as scaling and medication if necessary. Scaling is a procedure to remove the plaque on the teeth, and it’s a procedure you should get regardless of gum infection concerns. It’s optimal to get scaling done twice a year to maintain oral hygiene and health.
Sometimes however we don’t notice any changes or simply don’t have the time to go to the dentist, your gums can get very unhealthy. In this case, your dentist can perform root planning which is a procedure to remove all the plaque underneath the gum line. It’s done under local anaesthesia.
In severe cases where there’s gum or bone loss presented, you can get reconstructive surgery. To restore bone or gum loss, your dentist will perform a bone grafting or similar procedures.
Keep in mind that treating gum disease is not a one-time thing. You should always follow your dentist advice and go to any follow-ups to make sure your gums stay healthy. You can find Dr Teo’s contact information below if you’re late on your regular checkups!
Dr Marlene Teo
360 Orchard Rd, #03-06/07 next to Lido,
International Building, Singapore 238869
+65 8588 9868