Lifestyle Changes and Treatments that can Help Address Gum Infection
As children, we were always reminded of how important it is to take good care of our teeth. Brushing, rinsing, and flossing are the basics to keep our oral health at its best condition. However, as we go through life, we develop certain habits that actually put not only our oral health at risk but our entire bodies’ as well.
Maybe you have developed an undying love for sweets, a love-hate relationship with alcohol, or a deep attachment with tobacco—whichever it is, we know that these can definitely harm our bodies. Before anything else, these risky habits put our teeth and gums in a bad state first, especially when their upkeep is overlooked.
Everything that goes in our bodies comes through our mouths first. When it is not cleaned thoroughly, you can expect bacteria to thrive in the crevices between the teeth and gums. Turning a blind eye to this condition can lead to gum infection. Any bacterial infection in the mouth can easily travel and reach our gut, thereby placing our digestive and eventually, our immune system in danger. Bad bacteria can easily wreak havoc and spread throughout our body.
Introduction to Gingivitis and Periodontitis
We all love to eat and drink. That’s a fact. Food and beverages contain different substances that can stick to our teeth and gums once we consume them. If we fail to cleanse our mouth after a sumptuous meal, chances are this food debris clings on to our teeth and ends up forming into plaque.
Plaque is a thin, sticky, and colourless film that coats the teeth. This is where bacteria begin to develop and thrive. When plaque is not removed from the teeth, it can harden and become tartar. A tartar is a rough calcified build-up that forms on the teeth. Due to its hard consistency, tartar cannot simply be removed by brushing alone. Tartar that is left untreated can cause tooth decay and gum infection or gingivitis.
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. When this occurs, bacteria present in the plaque causes the gum to be infected resulting in inflammation. A common sign that your gum is already suffering from bacterial infection is bleeding when brushing the teeth. It is important to treat gingivitis right away as it can progress to more severe gum disease, called periodontitis, if not cured.
Periodontitis can cause irreversible consequences to the teeth and gums, such as loss of teeth. This happens when the layers beneath the gums and bone begin to recede from the teeth and form pockets. As this advances, the infection goes deeper and start to destroy the connective tissues and bone that are responsible for holding the teeth in place. Because the teeth’s anchors are damaged, they become loose and eventually fall out.
Other diseases brought about by gum infection
Studies have linked several bodily diseases to oral health. The link is found in bacteria that can start from the mouth and travel through the bloodstream, affecting different parts of the body. Some of these diseases include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy and birth complications
Gum infection treatments available in Singapore
Early detection of gingivitis can be treated with medications and dental procedures like scaling and polishing. These procedures are done to remove plaque and tartar deposits on your teeth. It is highly recommended that an individual has these procedures done at least once or twice a year in order to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
For severe gum infections, root planing can be done. This procedure involves a non-surgical deep cleaning of the teeth in order to remove bacterial plaque and tartar that have reached under the gum line. This procedure is usually done with local anaesthesia.
Gum infections that have already resulted in gum and bone loss will need reconstructive surgery. Gum and bone grafting are procedures that can be done to restore gum and bone loss.
Treating gum infections is not a one-time deal. It is important that patients do follow-ups with their gum specialist to ensure that the condition of their teeth and gums do not worsen.
Lifestyle changes that can help improve your recovery from gum infection
Dental care providers will not get tired of reminding patients how having a habit of practising good oral hygiene every day will make their lives better and healthier. Aside from that, if you wish to be fully free from gum infections, do the following lifestyle changes now:
- Book your regular dental appointments
- Change your toothbrush as soon as their bristles are worn or regularly, after every three months
- Quit smoking
- Skip the sweets if possible and foods packed with vitamins and nutrients that can boost the body’s immune system to fight off infections
- Swap your hard-bristled toothbrush for a soft-bristled one
Learning new habits that promote health and letting go of the ones that put our bodies at risk can take some time to develop. But, if you wish to break away from gum infection and not have the fear of losing your teeth linger in your mind, there is no other way to do so. Good luck!
Dr Marlene Teo
360 Orchard Rd, #03-06/07 next to Lido,
International Building, Singapore 238869
+65 8588 9868