In stressful times the effects on your body and particularly your oral health can be far-reaching and can sometimes go unnoticed.
We are here to help you understand how stress can affect your oral health and gums – and what you can do about it.
The importance of healthy gums
Teeth are often given the spotlight of attention in the dental world, however, the gums play a vital role in your smile. They help to keep your teeth securely attached to your jaw. They are like the foundations of a house; without them being strong and healthy, your house/teeth just won’t last. The gums network of blood vessels also supply nutrients and disease-fighting agents to your teeth. We are really not exaggerating when we say your teeth can’t survive without them.
If you think gum disease happens to other people, old people and smokers, think again.
If you’re over 30, you have a 50/50 chance of getting a gum infection. If you have ever noticed your gums bleeding when you brush, floss or bite down into food then you most likely have the start of gum disease. This is called gingivitis.
What causes gum disease?
Let’s look at how gum disease most often begins. Dental plaque is a thin film of bacteria and food particles that build up on teeth and gum surfaces daily. If this plaque isn’t consistently removed through daily brushing & flossing, this bacteria can cause infection and gum disease otherwise known as gingivitis and periodontitis.
While it’s not always easy to detect gum disease early on, it only takes a few days of inadequate oral hygiene for bacterial plaque to build, which can then trigger the periodontal (gum) disease or gingivitis. Although sometimes subtle, there are signs to watch for. The infection is usually more advanced if you notice pus-filled areas around your gums or loose teeth and pain. If you notice any of these its important to contact us as soon as possible
Stress can then lead to an exacerbation of gum disease. When your body is under stress, it produces more of the hormone cortisol which usually acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. But when cortisol is produced peripherally in the gums, it seems to stimulate mast cells to produce proteins, increasing inflammation and therefore increasing the progression of gum disease.
Gum disease treatment & prevention
Try not to stress about your gums, as Toorak Dental Studio is here to help. Gum disease is treatable so if you have any concerns, it’s important to come in for a check-up and hygiene appointment. Don’t let it overwhelm you – we can make sure your gums stay healthy and treat any gum disease promptly for the best possible outcome, to help get your mouth in a healthy state and keep it that way.
Obviously, prevention of gum disease by stopping plaque build-up through daily brushing and flossing is the best course of action. This includes having a good technique to effectively remove plaque every day at home.
You can use a manual brush or electric toothbrush, coupled with cleaning in between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes or even a water flosser. You should feel a smooth, almost squeaky, sensation when you rub your tongue over your teeth which indicates you’ve done a good job in removing all the plaque. You can also get plaque disclosing agents that dye the bacterial plaque a particular colour so you can easily see the surfaces and areas you’ve missed.
Dental visits, of course, are the other essential part of gum disease prevention and treatment – at least every 6 months (or more if recommended by us) for teeth cleaning and check-up. Not only will we be able to remove hard to reach plaque and calculus (plaque that’s turned hard and calcified in the mouth) we will also give your gums a thorough assessment. By seeing us regularly and sticking to a good oral hygiene home care routine you will increase your chances of not becoming a gum disease statistic.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
Symptoms of gum disease can often go unnoticed, so how do you know if you have gum disease?
– Bleeding gums
– Redness of the gums
– Unpleasant tastes in the mouth
– Bad breath: Odours from the mouth (halitosis)
– Unsightly appearance of teeth and gums
– Pus from the gums (abscess)
– Loosening of teeth
– Tenderness and Pain
The main treatment for gum disease includes:
– A thorough assessment of your gums by one of our dental hygienists
– Deep clean(s) by one of our hygienists
– Oral Hygiene Instructions for at-home care
– Regular check-ups and hygiene appointments
What can you do to look after your gums?
If you’re noticing symptoms of gum disease, or just want to check the health of your mouth, book in for an appointment with one of our team members for a check-up and hygiene appointment.
In the meantime:
- Brush twice daily for 2 mins
- Floss or use interdental brushes daily
- Use an alcohol-free mouthwash or even just a teaspoon of salt & bi-carb soda in warm water and rinse.
- Drink water throughout the day
Decrease the stress in your life by:
- Increasing the time you spend outside
- Exploring breathing techniques such as Buteyko breathing
- Incorporating meditation and mindfulness into your day – all of which are free and good for your general and oral health and gums
- Using apps like “insight timer” is a great way to get into meditations and reduce your overall stress.
Visit Toorak Dental Studio
LESS stress, seeing us for REGULAR CHECK UPs and CLEANS make HAPPY GUMS which in turn make HAPPY TEETH and HAPPY SMILES!
We are here to help you with any and all of your dental needs, so please give us a call to make an appointment: 98047710.