A new patient aged in her early 60s visited Malcolm Harbour at Harbour Dental Care in Ispwich this week troubled by sensitive teeth. An x-ray revealed she had cracked a tooth and a thorough dental examination found she had extensive gum disease. When we explained our findings the woman said ‘Isn’t gum disease just a sign of old age?’
Are you at risk of gum disease?
Some 80% of the UK population are estimated to suffer from a form of gum disease at some stage in their life. The most common cause is bad oral hygiene, however certain groups of people are more at risk, including:
Women and teenage girls
Women and teenage girls are more at risk of developing gum disease because of the many hormonal changes they experience such as puberty and the menopause, as well as taking oral contraceptives and having monthly periods. During all of these times, the body experiences hormonal changes that make gums sensitive.
During pregnancy, a woman experiences a whole nine months of hormonal changes which make the gums much more sensitive than usual and more susceptible to bleeding. Research has also shown that gum disease may be responsible for an increase in the likelihood of giving birth prematurely.
Smoking increases bacterial plaque whilst reducing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the gums and generates free radicals that delay the healing process, thus making the gums more susceptible to infection. Research shows that smoking causes 50% of all gum disease cases.
People with diabetes
Gum disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. This is because when blood sugar levels are poorly controlled, blood glucose levels rise and the higher levels of sugar in the mouth help harmful germs to grow. People with diabetes can also be more susceptible to contracting infections including infections of the gums.
People who suffer from stress
Research shows that stress can make it more difficult for our bodies to fight gum disease.
The signs of gum disease
You may be on the journey of gum disease if you have:
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or drifting teeth
- Tooth loss
If you have any of these symptoms please book an appointment with your Ipswich dentist or hygienist immediately. The early stages of gum disease are reversible and easily controlled, so don’t put off treatment. Please contact our friendly team a ring for more information.