Hygiene Therapy

Most people suffer from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.

If the gums are neglected pieces of food will collect between the teeth and in the gum line. If these are not properly removed by brushing and flossing, then the food can travel deeper under the gum line causing a space to develop between the tooth and gum this space is called a pocket. The trapped bacteria inside the pockets inflame the gums and slowly destroy the supporting bone structure. As the bone is destroyed the teeth will loosen, and if left untreated, will eventually fall out.

To prevent gum disease or to stop the progression of existing gum disease we recommend that all our patients visit both our dentist and our hygienist on a regular basis to have the teeth and gums checked and thoroughly cleaned. Our hygienist will be able to recommend the level of treatment and frequency of appointments you will need depending on the stage of gum disease you have.

Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning. Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. In fact, more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay.

All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. Smoking can also make gum disease worse. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day by brushing and flossing. The first sign is bleeding when you clean your teeth or while eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.

Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you don’t notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore, leading to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost, causing teeth to become slack. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.

If you think you have gum disease, please don’t hesitate to see us for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. We measure the ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you. Our hygienist will clean your teeth thoroughly and you’ll also be shown how to remove plaque successfully and effectively yourself. This may take a number of sessions. Then we may decide to carry out further cleaning of the roots of the teeth, to make sure that the last pockets of bacteria are removed. This is known as root planing. Periodontal disease is never cured, but it can be controlled, as long as you keep up the home care you have been taught. Any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque every day, and go for regular examinations to the dentist and hygienist.

As a practice dedicated to prevention, Berwick Smile Dental Care has a highly qualified hygienist who is able to professionally clean your teeth and show you the best way to keep them free of plaque. We are here to help!

For more detailed information or to request an appointment you can call us now on 01289 305205 or email us directly at

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