Have you seen the recent article in the guardian about links between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes and possibly even cancer? (Check it out here http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/19/why-neglecting-teeth-seriously-bad-health).

So what is gum disease?

There are two parts to gum disease: the first part we call gingivitis or bleeding gums. This is caused by plaque bacterial build up leading to inflammation of the gums. You will see this as the gums bleeding after brushing, or in more severe cases spontaneously. Gingivitis is completely reversible with good oral hygiene (i.e. brushing twice a day – see the blog on brushing technique!). If left untreated this can progress to gum disease or what I would term periodontitis. ((This is irreversible damage to the structures that hold your teeth in your mouth. )) In this case plaque bacteria cause your immune system to respond resulting in damage to the structures holding your teeth. This can lead to gum recession, tooth mobility, tooth loss and bad breath. Gum disease can be stopped with good oral hygiene and deep cleaning by the hygienist, but the damage is irreversible. Risk factors for this are poor oral hygiene, smoking and diabetes. It’s easy to detect at regular checkups and early detection and treatment will reduce the effects.

So what should you do if you see your gums are bleeding? Check that you are brushing with the correct technique (see our brushing technique article) and if with good brushing the bleeding persists after a week then see your dentist. At Orchard dental practice every checkup includes a full oral health assessment where your gums are checked for signs of disease, so with regular checkups you can rest assured that any problems will be picked up early.

Remember your mouth is part of you. If you have gum disease then bacteria are getting into your system. It is a chronic infection that your body will be constantly fighting so look after your gums. Your whole body will thank you for it!