When you see a dentist, we aren’t just checking that your teeth are healthy; we look at the health of your gums as well. Your gums protect your teeth, so if you don’t have healthy gums, you can’t have healthy teeth! Caring for your gums should always be a part of your everyday oral-care routine.
How to Keep Your Gums Healthy
The most important things you can do for your gums are also the simplest. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day should be the minimum you do for gum disease prevention and general oral health. Tongue scraping is another positive step you can take to preserve your gums, since it removes bacteria, food particles, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue.
Even if you brush and floss regularly, a visit to our office for a cleaning will remove tartar that you can’t get rid of with brushing. So if you have a good oral-care routine, keep it up, but if you aren’t meeting these minimum criteria, you could be at risk for developing gum disease.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis — This is the earliest form of gum disease, and also the easiest to treat and reverse if caught early. Gingivitis manifests in red and inflamed gums that may bleed. For example, when you are flossing, if your gums bleed easily and often, this may be a symptom of gingivitis. Good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups, will help prevent gingivitis.
Periodontitis – If gingivitis progresses, it can develop into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis damages the gums and impairs their ability to support your teeth properly. Pockets can form around the teeth, and expose the ligaments and bones in your gums, which will cause them to deteriorate. Your teeth will become loose in their sockets. At that point, tooth extraction may become necessary.
Treatment for gum disease includes scaling and root planing, antibiotics, and in severe cases, surgery.
Prevention is Key
As with any form of disease, prevention is key, and the same goes for gum disease. By adopting a thorough daily oral-cleaning routine, and scheduling regular dental cleanings and checkups, you’ll be keeping your gums and teeth healthy and stop gum disease before it has a chance to start!