Almost everyone takes care to avoid cavities. But it’s less common to pay attention to its counterpart: gum disease. The same bacteria that drive tooth decay can wreak havoc on your gums if you’re not paying attention.
So, in honor of Gum Disease Awareness Month, Lakeside Dentistry wanted to share five ways you can take ownership of your gum health. After all, healthy gums are the foundation of a beautiful smile!
At Lakeside Dentistry in Rochester, MN, we’re proud to offer both preventative and curative services to help improve the health of your gums, and we have invested in dental technology to make your treatment as precise and comfortable as possible.
Read on for five ways you can take better care of your gums — as well as ways we can help! Then give us a call at 507-316-6444 to schedule an appointment.
1. Understand The Causes And Consequences Of Gum Disease.
We believe that patient education is key to helping you make great decisions about your oral health. So, let’s start with some of the basics.
Gum disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding your teeth. And though there are some factors that make you more susceptible to gum disease (like hormonal changes or certain medical conditions), it’s usually a product of insufficient dental hygiene.
When food particles that get stuck between your teeth and under your gumline aren’t removed with proper flossing and professional cleanings, they attract bacteria. This bacteria is responsible for the infection.
In its early stages, gum disease takes the form of gingivitis. Your gums may be red, swollen, or even bleed when you brush or floss. But gingivitis is reversible if properly and promptly treated.
If it’s not addressed in a timely fashion, it can worsen and become aggressive periodontitis, which can lead to the loss of gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can lead to severe decay of tooth roots and even tooth loss.
And it’s important to note that gum disease doesn’t just take a toll on your smile. Some studies suggest that unmanaged gum disease is linked to diabetes, stroke, and other health complications.
But don’t panic. Just because there’s a lot at stake when gum disease goes untreated doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it.
2. Floss Daily.
Did you know that a third of Americans admitted they’d rather do something unpleasant — like clean the toilet, sit in gridlock traffic, or do their taxes — than floss the recommended once daily? Maybe it’s helpful to think of flossing as just another part of your daily routine. Sure, it takes time to brush your teeth or wash your hair. But you do it because it’s the healthy thing to do.
Need a little motivation? Set a daily reminder on your phone until it just becomes a habit. Floss your teeth while watching your favorite TV show. Who knows? You might even come to enjoy the extra five minutes of self-care time.
3. Visit Your Dentist Regularly For Checkups.
Even if you’re the most dedicated brusher and flosser in the world, you still should see your dentist once every six months for a routine exam and cleaning.
Remember how we said that if gingivitis is detected and treated early, it can be reversed? Regular checkups increase the likelihood that those early signs will be noticed.
4. Consider A Deep Cleaning.
If gingivitis has already taken hold of your smile, the professionals at Lakeside Dentistry might recommend a deep cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing. This procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from below the gumline and then smoothing the roots of your teeth to discourage future buildup.
Of course, we will thoroughly numb the area before treatment begins to ensure your comfort throughout the process, but we also offer nitrous oxide to further reduce pain and stress.
For scaling and root planing, we use a gentle ultrasonic scaler to remove infection-causing bacterial buildup. This piece of technology makes treatment more effective and more comfortable for our patients.
5. If Your Gums Have Receded, Repair The Damage.
In cases of severe periodontitis, patients often notice that their gum tissue begins to pull away from the natural gumline. This is called gum recession. In more advanced cases, gum recession can cause periodontal pockets to form between the teeth and the gumline. Bacteria easily becomes trapped in these pockets, causing loss of bone and tissue.
If this sounds familiar, give us a call. We can recommend reparative procedures that will restore a healthy gumline.
Healthy Gums, Healthy Smile
Although gum disease is a reality for roughly half of adults in the U.S., it doesn’t have to be for you! We want to help you improve the health of your gums so you can enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come.