Tips for Healthy Gums


The below information has been supplied by Colgate. For more information visit: www.colgate.com.au

What’s a tooth?

Teeth consist of the visible crown and the invisible root, which are formed by three distinctive structures; enamel, aentine and pulp

  • Enamel covers the crown and is the hardest tissue in the body
  • Dentine constitutes the major part of the tooth and gives teeth their colour
  • Pulp is rich in nerves and blood vessels

Each tooth has a root, which is embedded in the bone of the Jaw and skull. The bone is covered by soft gum tissue, which acts like a cuff around the neck of the tooth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a film of bacteria, which is constantly forming on all teeth. Plaque is responsible for the two most common oral diseases; tooth decay or cavities and gum disease. Everyone’s saliva contains millions of bacteria. These bacteria stick to the surface of your teeth and quickly multiply to form plaque.

What is tartar?

Tartar (calculus) is formed when calcium in the saliva combine with plaque to make it hard. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist. Regular, effective plaque removal is the best way to prevent build-up of tartar.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is inflammation of the tissues supporting the teeth. If plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, toxins produced by bacteria inflame the gums. This early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis and is reversible. If not treated gingivitis can develop into periodontititis.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease often can go unnoticed until it is quite advanced. However, most people will notice some of the following signs:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste
  • Gum recession
  • Teeth drifting apart
  • Gums with Gingivitis
  • Loose teeth

Can gingivitis be treated?

Yes. Gums affected only by gingivitis can be treated relatively easily with very good results. Your dentist or hygienist will ensure your teeth are free from tartar and show you how to clean your teeth properly. After the gingivitis treatment, thorough cleaning every day, together with regular flossing, will ensure that your gums will stay firm and healthy.

Can periodontitis be treated?

Yes, unless it has become very advanced. Treatment will depend on how far the damage to the supporting tissues has gone. Your dentist or hygienist will remove any deposits from pockets around affected teeth. This is done by scaling and root planing.

Can gingivitis and periodontitis recur?

Yes. If you go back to your old teeth cleaning habits the problem can return. That is why it is important that you brush your teeth thoroughly twice daily using the brushing and flossing technique shown to you by your dentist or hygienist.

There are many toothpastes and toothbrushes ava·llable but not all are as effective at slowing the regrowth of plaque and helping to reduce the progression of gum diseases.

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