Gum Disease Can Be a Real Problem
Did you know that the number one threat to your smile are your gums?
Your gums surround, support, and protect your teeth. The right balance of teeth and gums is a large part of what makes for a great smile.
But your gums are prone to a disease you may have heard about: gingivitis.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue (gingiva). Gingivitis is the first stage of a disease process known as periodontal disease.
Gums become inflamed when the bacteria in our mouths combine with our saliva to create a thin, sticky film called dental plaque.
Plaque forms on the gum line around your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque feed on the sugars in our foods and secrete acids. Those acids irritate (inflame) the gums and begin to attack your tooth enamel. In response, your gums change from a healthy pink to a dark red. They change from firm to puffy, or swollen. And they may hurt and bleed when you brush and floss.
Most plaque is easily removed by regular, thorough brushing and flossing. Not allowing plaque to remain on your gums avoids the risk of gum irritation. However, plaque begins to re-form within 24 hours of being removed. That’s why daily oral hygiene is so important.
However, there are often places in the mouth that are hard to clean thoroughly. Plaque can gain a foothold and begin to cause problems. Even worse, plaque can get below the gumline where your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. Left alone, the inflammation can become severe.
If you experience any of the signs of gingivitis, call Clearwater Dental Associates at 727-373-6628 to arrange a dental cleaning. Gingivitis can usually be easily addressed by professional treatment and can often be kept completely in check by a professional cleaning twice a year.
What All is Involved in Treating Gingivitis?
After applying a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort, your dental cleaning will involve removing every trace of plaque above and below the gum line. That will allow your gums the best possible chance to heal.
Plaque above the gum line is removed through a process called dental scaling. Plaque below the gumline is removed through a similar process known as root planing. Root planing also involves polishing the roots of the affected teeth to give bacteria fewer places to grow.
Don’t Ignore the Signs of Gum Disease
Left untreated, gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and even to serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, various cancers, and lung issues.
If you think you might have gum disease, contact our office at (727) 373-6628. The sooner gum disease is addressed, the better. We’ll make every effort to find an appointment day and time that works with your schedule.
All of us at Clearwater Dental Associates are committed to helping you keep a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile.