When you visit the dentist chances are you worried about having a cavity or something wrong with your teeth. And while it’s true that healthy teeth are at the center of dental health there is so much more to maintaining healthy teeth than just brushing. In order to cover all your bases of your oral health you’re going to have to make a plan for your gums. Gums are a critical aspect of your overall dental health and they really do not usually receive the attention they deserve. Bad gums lead to a number of diseases and health problems including gingivitis, periodontitis and even tooth loss. This article, with contributions by a Dentist Kingston Ontario is not meant to stand in the place of visiting a high-caliber dentist in Kingston or near you and you should always have regular check-ups. Still, we will try the best we can to cover the main things you can do to improve your gum health and the consequences of poor gum care.
First let’s scare you a bit so that you pay more attention to the second half where you will hopefully pick up a couple new bedtime routines.
Generally speaking most people have heard of gingivitis. You may not know though that gingivitis is actually the first stage of periodontitis, or gum disease, which we will be talking about momentarily. Remember that gingivitis can only be diagnosed by a dentist; but you should look for inflammation, soreness and bleeding. Specifically if you see blood when you floss, and you do floss at least once a day right? More on flossing later. Gingivitis is caused mainly by plaque buildup but many factors can contribute or exacerbate the effect of plaque including:
- Natural aging
- Other systemic diseases
- Poor nutrition
- Substance abuse
- Specific medications
Again, talking to your dentist if you have any of these risk factors is a good call to make. Luckily gingivitis is easily treated and most, if not all,damaged tissue can be recovered.
If you didn’t catch it before, once you’ve had gingivitis for awhile it progresses into full on periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease.At this point you definitely have some damage that you cannot undo. Typically at this stage you’ll find out that some of your supporting bone structure in your jaw is degrading and parts of your gum that keep your teeth in place are being destroyed as well. This means you might find your teeth are a little loose in addition to a hollowing of your gum line. In this stage a pocket forms in your gum line that traps food and plaque making the disease thrive. You’ll be able to see obvious gum recession at this stage and maybe even pus.
At its worst stage gum disease will almost always result in the loss of some teeth and you should see all the signs of typical periodontitis as mentioned previously and also that your bite seems different. This is because of the loose teeth resulting from the loss of the critical fibers holding your teeth in place.
Treatment of Periodontitis
Before we talk about the simple ways you can prevent gingivitis and periodontitis we think it’s necessary to talk about what your dentist will do if you have one of the later stages of gum disease.What your dentist prescribes as treatment will depend on the specifics of your scenario, but typical procedures include:
- Deep cleanings
- Removing infected tissue
- Gum grafting (in severe cases)
In any case prevention is undoubtedly easier and less costly than letting your gums get to the later stages.
Prevention is Key
Like all the other dental health practices you do before bed, like brushing, these are mainly preventative. After all, you brush your teeth to prevent cavities or at the very least prevent them from becoming worse right? Gum care methods work the same way.
- We hate to harp over fundamentals but flossing really is the best thing you can do for your gums to prevent gum disease. At least once a day, but it doesn’t matter when. It just matters that the plaque buildup in-between your teeth is being removed once a day.
- Go for regular dental cleanings. In addition to getting a thorough flossing seeing your dentist regularly does wonders for your overall oral health and dentists can easily spot gingivitis, which means you can stay on top of any worry spots. Professional dental cleaning is also one of the few surefire way to remove tartar buildup (not to be confused with plaque buildup)
- Brush twice a day. Again with the fundamentals we know, but it still needs to be said because people still get gum disease.
- Use the right mouthwash and toothpaste. Some mouthwashes and toothpastes are better at fighting gingivitis and plaque than others. As your dentist to recommend a brand available in your area.
So like most things to do with your health, preventative maintenance can save you from many future issues with your teeth and gums!