Symptoms & Solutions

Bleeding and painful gums

The most likely cause is gingivitis, which is caused by a build-up of plaque as a result of poor oral hygiene.

When plaque isn’t removed, it hardens into tartar and a build-up can lead to gingivitis and periondontal disease, a more serious disease which can cause the teeth to fall out. Causes include poor diet and also too much alcohol.

Frequent sore throats are also indicators of gum infection There is also evidence that certain types of bacteria found in dental plaque spread via the bloodstream to arteries can contribute to heart attacks.

If you have these symptoms you shoud brush and floss at least twice daily together with a mouthwash. Buy new tooth brushes frequently and always buy a new one after any throat infections of tonsillitis.

Do not smoke, drink alcohol, fatty or sugary foods which may aggravate the digestive system. Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and fatty, sugary or sticky foods, which may aggravate your digestive system. Eat more fruit and vegetables and take a daily vitamin C supplement.

Bruxism (grinding of teeth)

Teeth grinding usually occurs at night – and a person may be totally unaware that they are doing it. Some people grind their teeth when stressed; others do so because their ‘bite’ is naturally poor and their jaw is unable to relax into a comfortable position. This can be cured by selective grinding by a dentist or by orthodontics. Otherwise over time, this can lead to other health problems, such as muscle tension, headaches and jaw pain.

Dentists may recommend a mouthguard. Cut stress before bedtime by finding
ways to relax, such as listening to music.


Overly large spaces between teeth which can be rectified with porcelain veneers or bonding. Should the gaps get larger an orth-dental surgeon should be consulted.

Dry mouth (Xerostomia)

A seemingly permenant dry mouth can be one of the earliest symptoms of diabetes. The condition causes blood vessels in the salivary glands to thicken, slowing down the removal of harmful toxins and the natural flow of saliva, drying the mouth and making the gums more prone to infections. Smoking and some medications such as painkillers can also be a contributory factor. Other symptoms of diabetes include blurred vision, recurring thrush and a frequent need to urinate. You should see a doctor for a blood test.

Erosion, chipping and sensitive teeth

Acidic drinks are causing a dramatic increase in loss of tooth enamel as a result of acid attack.

This exposes the underlying dentine, which can result in pain. As dentine is darker in colour than enamel, the teeth can also look stained and discoloured. Occasionally it is a symptom of bulimia – the excess acid in the mouth caused by regular vomiting can lead to loss of tooth enamel. Other causes include antibiotics such as tetracycline and discolouration caused by tea and coffee. Drink less fizzy drinks and improve oral hygiene.

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day –
but wait at least an hour after having a fizzy drink as the drink will have
softened your enamel and brushing will only make the problem worse. Tea and coffee stains can be removed by a hygienist, but for more severe staining, tooth whitening is an effective remedy. The quickest way to lighten teeth is with laser treatment during which teeth are
coated with a gel which contains hydrogen peroxide.

Halitosis (bad breath)

Usually caused by bacteria but can occasionally be caused by diseases such as cancer, or of the liver or kidney or diabetes so if it persists a doctor should be consulted. As well as bacteria, bleeding gums and infections can add to the problem. Other causes include sinusitis and rhinitis which can drip mucus into the mouth, smoking, broken fillings etc. Also poor digestion not drinking enough water, too much coffee and medications – such as diuretics, tranquilisers can be responsible. A tongue scraper which can be bought from the chemist can also help in removing plaque and bacteria from the tongue. Also use a non-alcohol mouth freshener.

Breath fresheners, such as Breath Assure capsules ( £5.99) which contain parsley oil, or simply chewing parsley can minimise bad breath from certain foods. Brush and floss teeth regularly, especially after meals. If your bad breath hasn’t cleared up after two weeks, it’s best to consult your doctor.

Other useful solutions: Green drinks such as Wheatgrass, alfalfa added to water or fruit juice/chewing on cinnamon or licorice root, cloves, parsley/infusions made of peppermint/homeopathic remedies such as Kali.phos to cure bitter taste on rising andMerc.sol in 6X potency twice daily for two weeks.

Inflamation of the gum

Often a sign of pregnancy. Sometimes large and often overlap a tooth slightly, are called an epulis and are common during pregnancy. They result from hormonal changes – oestrogen makes the gums more sensitive and prone to inflammation – and will disappear after giving birth. Very rarely it may indicate some form of blood disorder or leukaemia.

See a doctor for a pregnancy check and visit the dentist reguCheck if you are pregnant. If you are, visit the dentist regularly to ensure your gums are kept free rom infection.

Knocked out teeth

A surgeon can reimplant if the patient gets treatment within two hours of an accident.


Made of bacteria it sticks to the teeth and is the main reason for gum disease. It can be removed by regular visits to a dental hygenist and regular flossing.

Receding gums

Usually caused by periodontal disease and plaque build-up. Gum tissue is destroyed and in advanced cases the root becomes exposed and abscesses form and bone is destroyed.


Mouth ulcers appear when you’re run down, usually because your immune system is suppressed.

In rare cases, mouth ulcers can be the earliest warning sign of throat, tongue
or mouth cancer. They usually clear up of their own accord in a week to ten days.
Any lumps and ulcers in the mouth, gum, tongue or throat area which
hasn’t disappeared within two weeks, see your GP immediately.


Usually made of porcelain they are attached to the surface of the teeth and can improve shape, contour and colour.

Yellow teeth

Usually caused by tetracycline staining when given to children and also when the nerve of a tooth dies. Can be corrected with veneers, crowns or whitening.