You probably saw some headlines a few months ago about flossing and gum disease. If you delved into the stories, then you may have realized it was more complicated that the headlines indicated.
At Marineland Dental Care, our hope is that you will continue doing the things that will help you prevent gum disease.
We also hope you will visit our dentist office in Kennewick, WA, as soon as possible if you see the symptoms of periodontal problems.
Preventing Periodontal Problems
The best way to keep your mouth healthy is to take steps every day to remove bacteria plaque.
Our dentist, Dr. Hadley, has explained that it takes about 30 hours for bacteria is “get organized” in a way that can cause damage to our teeth and gums. You can disrupt this 30-hour organization effort by cleaning your teeth regularly.
The American Dental Association recommends doing a few things every day. First and foremost, you should brush your teeth for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and dab of toothpaste with fluoride. Be sure to scrub your teeth on all side and then brush your tongue. Then, spit out the toothpaste. The ADA recommends doing this twice daily.
The ADA also suggests flossing daily. This is a way to clean between your teeth and gums. If nothing else, this will remove pieces of food that have become stuck in your teeth, and bacteria uses the sugars in those foods.
If you don’t like flossing, you may want to use another interdental cleaner like flossers (which have short handles to make flossing more comfortable) or water flossers (which use a stream of water to clean between teeth.
The final piece of the prevention puzzle is regular visits to the dentist office. A good guideline is to have two professional cleanings and examinations per year. If you have chronic gum disease, then you may want to visit the dentist more frequently.
During your visits, one of our hygienists will remove any plaque or tartar that may have built up on your teeth. We also will examine your gums for signs of periodontal disease. If we see anything, we will let you know so you can treat it as quickly as possible.
The treatment will depend on whether you have mild or advanced gum disease.
Mild gum disease is called gingivitis. The symptoms of this include bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth and gums that appear red or swollen.
Many times, you can reverse this condition by being more intentional about your oral hygiene routine. Following the ADA guidelines can go a long way toward reversing this condition.
If you ignore your gingivitis, however, it can turn into the advanced gum disease called periodontitis. The only way to treat this form of gum disease is to visit a dental professional.
One of the ways we can help is through a procedure called scaling and root planing. This is similar to the kind of cleaning you receive during a routine visit, although it goes deeper. The hygienist will be removing bacteria, plaque, and tartar from the roots of your teeth.
This may be a solution or it may be the first step in your periodontal treatment. In some cases, antibiotics can be used to eliminate the bacteria that caused the initial infection and to prevent a new infection.
Dental lasers can help to remove infected gum tissue. Lasers have the added benefit of sealing your gum tissue as well, which helps to speed up the healing process (when compared to surgical treatments).
Knowing Your Risks
It’s not fair, we know, by some people are more prone to developing gum disease than other people.
In some cases, this is not something you can control. Chronic gum disease may run in your family. People with diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes too (and gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels).
Women are more susceptible to gum disease at times when they are going through hormone changes. This includes puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
But other risk factors for gum disease are things you can control.
Tobacco use greatly increases your risk of periodontal disease. It also makes it more difficult to treat your infections. Poor nutrition and poor dental hygiene make gum disease more likely as well.
Keep Smiling By Taking Care Of Your Gums
If you have not scheduled your next dental cleaning, call Marineland Dental Care at 509-591-0515 or use our online form to request an appointment. Our dentist and our staff want nothing more than to help our patients in and around Kennewick, WA, keep their mouths as healthy as possible.