Gum and Tooth Care
There are a few basic steps for caring for your gums and teeth:
- Regular checkups
You need to brush at least twice per day. Brushing after every meal would be ideal. You should wait about 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth. This way, the enamel that was softened by the acid in the food you just ate has a chance to re-harden and not get brushed away. Brushing removes plaque, which is the bacteria that sticks to your teeth. When the plaque comes into contact with food it produces an acid that can lead to cavities.
Floss your teeth at least once per day. Flossing helps to remove food and plaque from between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t get to. If plaque it not removed it can harden into tartar. This can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
In addition to brushing and flossing, it is a good idea to use an antibacterial rinse. This will reduce the bacteria that causes plaque and gum disease. Fluoride rinses also help prevent tooth decay, according to the ADA. However, the ADA doesn’t recommend the use of fluoride rinses in children 6 years old and younger because they may accidentally swallow it.
See your dentist every six months for a checkup and a cleaning.
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums. It can progress to effect the bone that supports your teeth if you don’t remove it with daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing. There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
- Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is caused by plaque build-up at the gum line. It can produce toxins that irritate the tissue of the gums by causing irritation of the gum tissue. You might notice some bleeding when you brush your teeth. At this early stage, gum disease can be reversed since it has not yet affected the bones and tissue that hold your teeth in place.
- Periodontitis is the second stage. At this point, the supporting bones and tissue that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may have formed a pocket below the gum line that can trap food and plaque. Dental treatment and improved care at home can help prevent further damage.
- Advanced Periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease. The tissue and bones supporting your teeth have been destroyed. This can cause your teeth to loosen or shift. This will affect your bite. If aggressive dental treatment can’t save your teeth then they will have to be removed.
How Do You Know if You Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease can happen at any age, but it is more common in adults. If you catch it in the early stages, it can be reversed. But how do you know if you have gum disease? Some of the symptoms include:
- Red, puffy, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Teeth that look longer because your gums have receded
- Gums have separated, or pulled away from your teeth, creating a pocket
- Pus coming from between your teeth and gums
- Constant bad taste in your mouth or bad breath
Treatment for Gum Disease
The early stages of gum disease can sometimes be reversed with correct brushing and flossing at home. Proper oral care will help keep plaque from building up.
A professional cleaning by your dentist or hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tarter. The hygienist will scale your teeth to remove tarter below the gum line. If your condition is more severe a root planing procedure may be required. Root planing smooths irregularities in the roots of the teeth to make it harder for plaque to deposit there.
By having regular checkups with your dentist, the early stages of gum disease can be treated before it leads to a more serious condition. If you have a more advanced condition, treatment in the dentist’s office will be needed.
If you are seeing the early signs of gum disease, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible. At Simply Smiles Dentistry, we can help stop gum disease and help to prevent further damage to your gums and teeth.
Until next time… Keep on Smiling!