I’m often asked ‘what’s the best treatment for gum disease?’ and ‘prevention’ is generally on the tip of my tongue. However, as most adults (3 in 4 over 35 year olds) experience gum disease at some point in their lives, I know that prevention is often too late.
The good news is that treating mild gum disease (gingivitis) is really easy, and once treated you can then make sure you prevent a reoccurrence by following a simple oral hygiene routine.
If you have sore or bleeding gums and think you have gum disease, don’t panic, here’s what to do.
Best Treatment For Gum Disease In 5 Easy Steps
These five steps are for those suffering from mild gingivitis, the less severe form of gum disease that many of us experience as a result of a build up of plaque. Typical symptoms include bleeding gums, bad breath and sore, inflamed gums. If you also have receding gums, pain and any loose teeth, it would suggest that your gum disease is more severe and therefore you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Improve Your Brushing And Oral Care Routine
There are two things you need to do to treat mild gum disease.
- Reduce and remove the build up of plaque,
- Reduce and remove the bacteria causing the plaque.
Harmful bacteria in your mouth combined with food particles, particularly sugars, create plaque that irritates your gums and causes gum disease. Once the plaque has progressed below the gum line it becomes impossible to remove with a conventional toothbrush.
Therefore the first step is to remove the plaque and bacteria. This can be done by brushing effectively twice a day (for at least two minutes each time), flossing daily and using interdental brushes regularly. If you have a significant build up of plaque it may be necessary to see a dental hygienist for a scale and polish.
- Remove ‘Hidden’ Bacteria From Below The Gum Line
Bacteria are microscopic and therefore can get into all sorts of inaccessible places. One area that is a particular issue for your oral health is below the gum line. Regular brushing cannot touch it, and flossing and conventional interdentals can only tackle the areas in between your teeth. However, a GumSaver brush can actually get below the gum line to remove bacteria lurking there. This soft bristled, two pronged brush is designed to clean those inaccessible places and chase bacteria out of their hiding places.
- Use A Medicated Or Natural Mouthwash
During a flare up of gum disease it can be helpful to introduce a mediated or natural mouthwash to your oral care routine for a short period of time. Corsodyl mouthwash or a mild saline solution will both neutralise the plaque bacteria but should only be used for a week, unless prescribed for longer by your dentist. Make sure you wait for at least five minutes after brushing before rinsing with a mouthwash, as mouthwashes can prevent the fluoride in your toothbrush from working.
- Continue To Brush Your Gums, Even If Sore Or Bleeding
It is really important to continue brushing inflamed gums, as this is where bacteria have collected. Although initially unpleasant, especially if they are bleeding, your gums have remarkable healing abilities and will quickly recover once you remove the bacteria that are causing the problem. Any sensitivity should quickly end, as will bleeding and the redness caused by this inflammation.
- Watch What You Eat
If you have gum disease it is really important to try to minimise the amount of the sugar and acid in your mouth that plaque bacteria thrive on. Otherwise you will keep adding to the problem and this will make treating gum disease even harder. Snacking in between meals is one of the main culprits, particularly if that includes sugary snacks and fizzy drinks. While it is a good idea to cut these out of your diet completely, or at least limit them to mealtimes, if you are currently treating gum disease avoid these for the time being.
As I said before the best treatment for gum disease is definitely prevention, and having treated your gum disease you can now minimise the chance of developing it again with some preventative measures.
What preventative measures?
- Brushing twice a day, for at least two minutes each time,
- Brushing your teeth before going to bed,
- Flossing daily and using interdentals several times a week,
- Introducing a GumSaver brush to your routine oral care,
- Minimising the amount of sugars you consume in between meals,
- Regularly rinsing or drinking water to remove food particles and bacteria throughout the day,
- Giving up smoking – but that’s another blog…
If you have any concerns about gum disease or your oral health, please see your dentist or leave a comment below. To find out how to use a GumSaver brush, click here.