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Posted on: September 7, 2022
September Is Gum Care Awareness Month
That makes it the perfect time for a reminder about the importance of caring for your gums and how best to do it. Proper oral care is the number one way to prevent gum disease. Gum disease can cause increasing and widespread harm throughout your mouth and body the longer it goes untreated.
Gum disease won’t go away on it’s own. Call today to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and a checkup today!
The First Signs of Gum Disease: Gingivitis
Gum disease’s earliest stage, gingivitis occurs when the tissues that surround and support the teeth become inflamed. Gingivitis is quite common and, more often than not, the consequence of poor oral hygiene. It is marked by gum swelling, redness, and bleeding easily when you floss or brush your teeth, and it can vary significantly in the degree of severity.
Gingivitis begins when saliva mixes with food debris and bacteria, producing plaque that adheres to the teeth’s surfaces. If you don’t remove this plaque through proper brushing and flossing, that plaque gets mineralized and turns into tartar, also known as calculus.
Tartar is much harder than plaque, and you won’t be able to remove it without a Palm Coast dentist’s assistance.
Watch Out for Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is the irritation, inflammation, and infection of the gums surrounding the teeth, or the first stage of periodontal disease. In general, periodontal disease is the inflammation or infection of the bone beneath the gums. Gingiva means “gums” in Latin; while, in dentistry, periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease, therefore affects the structures supporting and surrounding the teeth, like the gums and bone.
When the gums and bone surrounding the teeth get an infection, the gums begin receding from the teeth. As a result, deep pockets begin to form that trap and accumulate bacteria and plaque, leading to additional bone loss. As periodontitis progresses through the early, moderate, and advanced stages, the mouth loses an increasing amount of bone. This results in deeper gum pockets and could lead the teeth to loosen, separate and, even, come out.
Don’t ignore the signs of gum disease when you see them. Give us a call for a checkup and cleaning now.
What Mostly Causes Gum Disease?
Poor dental hygiene is the main cause of gingivitis by permitting plaque to stay on the teeth and produce a gum infection. There are, however, other factors that can elevate your risk of developing gingivitis, including:
- Poor dental care – Infrequent or no dental care at all can cause a gum disease problem to worsen.
- Smoking – Smoking prevents gum tissue from healing; so does chewing tobacco.
- Crooked teeth – Whether crooked, overlapping, or rotated, teeth in odd positions can be harder to reach for cleaning and therefore promote bacteria collection and plaque accumulation.
- Cancer – The disease itself and treatment for it can cause someone already susceptible to infections to become even more vulnerable to gum disease.
- Dry mouth – Insufficient saliva production can promote gum disease, as can mouth breathing, since the lips are unable to provide the gums ample protection from drying out.
- Hormones – Whether in pregnancy, menopause, or puberty, hormonal changes correspond to an increase in gingivitis, as the rise in hormones expose the blood veseels to greater vulnerability to bacteria. During puberty, between 70 and 90 percent of youth develop gingivitis
- Bad nutrition – A diet low in water and high in sugar and carbs can increase plaque formation, as can a deficiency of vitamin C and other key nutrients.
- Stress – Stress weakens the immune system’s reaction to harmful bacteria.
- Alcohol – Alcohol negatively impacts defense mechanisms in the mouth.
- Certain medications – Anti-seizure meds and certain other medications can increase gum disease risk.
- Diabetes mellitus – Diabetes can impede circulation and, therefore, the gums’ healing ability.
Think you may be at risk for developing gum disease, call our Palm Coast office for a consultation today. Don’t delay!
What’s the Treatment for Gum Disease
Gum disease treatment involves identifying and eliminating the factors making you more prone to the disease. You can eliminate most of these by putting into place more thorough and consistent dental care habits and regular checkups and cleanings from your dentist in Palm Coast.
If you think you may have gum disease, contact our office right away. Schedule an appointment for an oral exam and professional cleaning, and keep your gums safe.
If you have any of the risk factors for gum disease as well, such as smoking or improperly controlled diabetes, they could be contributing to the problem. By taking care of these problems, quitting smoking, and regulating your diabetes properly, you can help improve your success reversing the damage gum disease caused and alleviating the infection.
If your gum disease is severe enough to require your dentist’s involvement, your treatment will very much depend on how far your condition has progressed. The dentist may start with a deep cleaning and antibiotics, but turn to more complex treatments like root canals, root planing, scaling and tooth extraction, if required.
The Pyramid of Proper Oral Care
Proper oral care involves three basic cornerstones: brushing your teeth, flossing your teeth, and seeing your dentist in Palm Coast for regular checkups and cleanings.
Brush your teeth two times per day (in the morning and at night) or three times per day (after each meal.) When you brush, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste containing fluoride. Then, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle against the teeth and rub firmly, but not too rigorously, in up and down movements and small circular movements. Brush the front and back sides of your teeth and gums. Brush the top and bottom of your tongue too, since bacteria collect there as well. And, you can use an antiseptic mouthrinse after brushing to kill off any bacteria remaining.
Floss at least once per day. It doesn’t matter when. Be sure to floss all the way to the gum line. You can also use a soft interdental device along with your flossing to reach places the floss may not have been able to.
Lastly, call us at our dental office in Palm Coast to schedule your next checkup and cleaning.