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dentist caring for gums

Your Gum Health Is Vital to Your Overall Health

dentist caring for gums

September welcomes another National Gum Care Awareness Month, another chance to remind ourselves of how to take proper care of our gums and why it’s so important to do so.

It’s time to schedule your next dental care appointment at the Gainesville office! Call today for more information.

How You Get Gum Disease

What causes gum disease is the bacteria contained in plaque and calculus, or tartar. A filmy, sticky substance that adheres to the teeth, plaque is made up mostly of food particles, bateria, mucus and other debris. As the American Dental Association (ADA) explains, when plaque remains on the teeth long enough, it hardens, becoming calculus, aka tartar, where the bacteria it contains can thrive. Gum disease is the inflammation and infection of the gums caused by the bacteria contained in plaque and calculus. While you can remove plaque on your own with proper brushing and flossing, only a dentist can remove calculus.

For that reason, among others, it is vital to care for your mouth to prevent gum disease. And, it’s equally vital, when gum disease does happen, to catch it early enough that you can treat it quickly, easily and completely. Part of that care is seeing your dentist in Gainesville on a regular basis for checkups to look for signs of gum disease and for cleanings to keep your gums healthy. 

How Does Gum Disease Progress After You Get It? 

There are three basic stages of gum disease. Gingivitis is the earliest stage, in which the gums may be swollen, tender or red and easily bleed. There is rarely pain at this stage, however, which is why many people with gingivitis don’t even know it. You can typically reverse the irritation, inflammation and effects of gum disease by improving your daily oral care routine to provide more consistent and thorough gum care.

Periodontitis, also called mild to moderate periodontal disease, is the subsequent stage that occurs if gingivitis isn’t promptly or completely treated. In this stage, the gum areas around the teeth have even more bleeding and inflammation.

At this point, the body’s own immune response begins breaking down the attachment between the gums and the teeth. When this occurs, the gums begin to separate from the teeth, creating ever-widening pockets that can trap plaque and calculus and the elements like bacteria and food debris that form it. This material then sits there decaying and becoming infected. You may start to notice early signs of bone loss in the areas around the teeth. If periodontitis isn’t treated at this stage, it can lead to continued bone loss and the eventual loosening and possible separation or twisting of teeth.

Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of periodontitis and gum disease. By this stage, gum pockets have deepened and the parts of the jawbone formerly holding teeth in place have deteriorated significantly. Unless periodontal treatment can adequately restore the structural support for the teeth where the bone has deteriorated, the condition will likely lead to the loss of teeth, whether by falling out or requiring removal.

Often, a person won’t even notice they have periodontal disease until the condition becomes advanced. At that point the symptoms may include:

  • Lingering foul breath
  • Swollen, sore and reddened gums
  • Chewing pain
  • Receding gums
  • Sensitive or loose teeth

Call us today to schedule your next dental cleanings and checkups in Gainesville. We’re available to help you!

What Should I Do If I Have Gum Disease? 

Certain health and lifestyle factors can put you at increased risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis, including:

  • Heredity
  • Chewing or smoking tobacco
  • Hormonal changes associated with puberty in girls and menopause in older women
  • Diabetes or insufficiently regulated and controlled diabetes

Preventing gum disease can be as simple as practicing good dental hygiene consistently throughout your life. In most cases, simply flossing your teeth once a day and brushing twice a day is enough, along with regularly scheduled visits to your dentist in Gainesville for general exams and professional cleanings. It’s important to realize that proper oral home care doesn’t replace the need for professional dental care. You need both working together in tandem to keep your gums and teeth healthy and your smile beautiful throughout your whole life. So, give us a call for a dental exam and cleaning today.

Gum Care Matters in Gainesville

Keep in mind that no matter how well and diligently you may brush and floss, there are still places in the mouth where debris or particles may remain or where plaque or calculus have already started building up past your capacity to reach or remove them. To ensure a clean and healthy mouth free of gum disease, work in partnership with your dentist, each doing your own part for your total oral health.

To brush your teeth properly use a toothpaste containing fluoride and apply it with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hold the toothbrush against your teeth at a 45-degree angle and brush your teeth and gums alike in short strokes both up and down and in little circular movements. As you do this, apply firm but not excessive pressure. Don’t scrub; you don’t want to abrade your teeth or gums. Give each tooth about 15 to 20 brushings. And, remember to get the backs of your teeth and gums as well as the fronts. Brush the top and bottom of your tongue as well to get off any bacteria collected there.

Every few months or whenever your toothbrush head becomes frayed or worn, replace it. Replace your toothbrush, as well, after anytime you’ve been sick with a cold, flu, strep throat or other bacterial or viral infection.

To floss your teeth properly, cut off a length of floss of about 18 inches. Grip it firmly between thumb and forefingers, then place it in the spaces between each pair of adjacent teeth one at a time and slide it all the way up and down, making sure to reach the gumline. At the base of each tooth, curve the floss around it and rub it up and down. Make sure to do this around the front and back sides of each tooth.

Don’t delay in improving your gum care and keeping away gum disease. Call us to schedule a dental cleaning and checkup in Gainesville now.

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