While many people focus on the aesthetic part of their smile, looking for whiter, straighter, healthier teeth, gums play an equally important role not only in your smile, but in your overall oral health.
Your mouth is full of bacteria, and every time you eat, you also add bits of food to your mouth. Bacteria and food that is not properly removed forms plaque on your teeth. As time goes by, this plaque hardens and forms tartar. Once you have tartar on your teeth, only a dentist or hygienist can remove it with their specialized tools. It cannot be removed by brushing.
It’s vital to your oral health to have regular cleanings to remove all the tartar before it causes issues in your mouth. Even a little bit of tartar left on your teeth and around your gums can cause gum disease. For this reason, you want to ensure that your oral care provider spends an adequate amount of time for a thorough cleaning.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include swollen, red gums and gums that bleed easily. Luckily, when caught early, gingivitis can usually be stopped in its tracks and even reversed by brushing and flossing daily, combined with regular visits to the dentist for cleanings.
If left untreated, gingivitis can evolve into periodontitis, a more serious kind of gum disease. Periodontitis can cause the gums to recede away from the teeth, creating spaces that can become infected. Plaque gets into these spaces and spread below the gum line. As your body tries to fight the infection, you may suffer from bone loss and damaged connective tissue. Without treatment, your teeth become loose and have to be removed.
While daily brushing and flossing go a long way in preventing gum disease, there are several risk factors that can increase your chance of developing gingivitis. These include smoking, hormonal changes, diabetes, certain illnesses, medications that cause dry mouth as a side effect, and genetics.
Dr. Peter believes in educating his patients, not only on the proper way to brush and floss your teeth, but how to spot the early warning signs of gum disease.
If you are already experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, it is time to schedule an appointment! Early treatment is essential to minimize pain and to prevent it from developing into a more serious condition. Even at the later stages of gum disease, Dr. Peter can still help.
Depending on the severity of the gum disease, Dr. Peter may opt for a deep-cleaning, otherwise known as scaling, or root planning, which removes rough spots on your tooth’s root, helping to eliminate bacteria. In severe cases, antibiotic medications may be prescribed to combat the infection.
Don’t delay taking care of your gums any longer. Book your appointment today to start your journey to healthy gums!