Protect Your Smile Against Gum Disease
- August 8, 2016
Gum disease is a thief.
It can develop slowly, although it doesn’t really hide the fact that it’s in your mouth. Over time, it can rob you of your healthy smile. That includes removing some or even all of your teeth.
Like any thief, gum disease is looking for any opening, any opportunity to take something from you.
The good news is you can stop it — if you want — and the team at Total Dental Care of South Carolina in Columbia will support your efforts.
Today, we will give you a list of warning signs that periodontal disease may have “broken in” to your gums, and we’ll explain what can be done if you discover these intruders.
Hopefully, you will never have an experience with someone stealing from you. Nevertheless, people often notice that something is different when this does happen.
It’s true with gum disease, too.
It usually starts with small, but visible differences.
Your gums may appear redder than usual or they may look puffy or swollen. Also, your gums may bleed when you floss or brush your teeth.
We want to make a quick aside for a moment. Some people think that’s it’s normal for your gums to bleed. It’s not normal if your gums are healthy. It is normal if you have gum disease.
As gum disease progresses, the symptoms get worse and more obvious. These signs include:
▶︎ Gums that feel tender
▶︎ Gums that feel sore
▶︎ Gums that are receding
▶︎ Bad breath that won’t go away
▶︎ Pus leaking from your gums
▶︎ Teeth that feel loose or fall out
Those are just the things that you can see. Along the way, your may have pockets forming inside your gum tissue. These pockets give bacteria a place to hide and create plaque, which can harden into tartar.
The good news is you don’t have to let your periodontal disease get as bad as what we described above. You can take steps to remove the infection.
In the early stages, you may be able to take care of your gum disease at home.
Gum disease often develops because people are not doing the things they should be doing every day (brushing and flossing), or they are not doing those things correctly.
Brushing should be done twice daily. Set a timer and be sure you are scrubbing your teeth for two minutes. Be sure to scrub them on all sides during this time. You may not be able to see the back of your teeth, but it’s just as important to clean back there.
Flossing should be done at least once per day. This doesn’t just mean pushing the floss between your teeth. You need to hug the floss under your gumline as well.
For an illustration of the steps in flossing, click here.
Once you have cleared out your gum disease, your gums should quit bleeding and go back to looking like normal.
Call For Backup
One of the difficulties with advanced gum disease is that you can’t just floss better to make it go away.
You will need to professional help to remove advanced gum disease, which is also called periodontitis.
At Total Dental Care of South Carolina, we prefer to treat gum disease non-surgically. The first step is going beyond what we do during a routine cleaning and examination.
This is scaling and root planing. During this procedure, a dentist or hygienist will need to clean underneath your gumline to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar that have attached to the roots of your teeth.
We may prescribe an antibiotic to kill any remaining bacteria and to reduce the risk of your gum disease recurring.
The best way to deal with gum disease, however, it to prevent it from getting inside. The bacteria is already there, so you’ve got to do the things that keep it from getting where it can cause damage.
This is why you should follow the brushing and flossing steps described above. This is your first line of defense. The second line is coming to our dentist office in Columbia, SC, for routine cleanings and examination. You can schedule a cleaning with our online form or by calling 803-272-4162.
A member of our staff will remove plaque and tartar from your mouth, and we will let you know if we see signs of gum disease and what you should do about it.
We want to keep you smile, and to do that, we want to keep your gums as healthy as they can be.