DR ASHRAF GAD: You cannot treat gum inflammation at home

Gum inflammation is a common cause of dental issues that can range from discoloured gums and bleeding to receding gums, teeth sensitivity and loose teeth if left untreated. It’s caused by bacteria feeding off of tartar between the gums and the teeth.

You cannot treat gum inflammation at home. Tartar is a hardened form of plaque that requires intervention from a dentist. Furthermore, if the bacteria is allowed to settle it will form a protective barrier which also complicates the clean up.

In some intense cases, there will be some bleeding and loose teeth will be present after treatment. Some patients wrongly assume that this is because tartar removal is harmful. It is not, this is a result of existing damage from inflammation. If it was left untreated, it could cause damage to the jaw and require teeth removal

Gum inflammation is usually caused by not cleaning teeth consistently and not visiting the dentist regularly for basic care. Generally speaking, you should visit the dentist once every 4 months, but this figure can vary from person to person due to the spacing between teeth and the chemical composition of saliva.

Other factors that can influence inflammation include hormone changes resulting from either pregnancy or diabetes and certain types of medications that affect saliva (such as certain types of antidepressants)

Veneers, if done properly do not cause gum inflammation. However if it is done too low or high, then it can cause a buildup of tartar and bacteria which irritates the gums

In some rare and extreme cases, the bacteria can spread from the mouth to other parts of the body. This can cause heart complications. Furthermore this can affect the child in case of pregnancy

If you are planning on having a child, you should visit your dentist before pregnancy to avoid complications. Visiting during pregnancy will remove several options, such as anesthetics and X-rays, for the safety of your child. In addition, the foul breath and bad taste caused by the bacteria can only worsen the existing nausea due to pregnancy.

To prevent gum inflammation, you should brush and floss your teeth regularly. Eating vitamin C also strengthens the gums. Avoid sugary foods, soda and smoking..

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