Many of us tend to take a similar approach when it comes to seemingly small health issues like the common cold: give it time. It's natural for this condition to heal and clear up on its own.
Is gum disease one of those little problems? Will a little palliative treatment help you to get over it and move on?
Understanding the True Nature of Gum Disease
Contrary to its name, gum disease is not just limited to your gums. Dr. Anna Goldston believes that a better term is 'periodontal disease' which also involves the infected bone and ligaments around tooth roots. In actuality, this disease is happening in a place that you can't reach.
Periodontal disease is an infection of types of bacteria that don't need oxygen to survive. This means they can reproduce in the deep, dark pockets they create around your teeth. Once they settle in, they have access to all the resources they need to perpetuate the problem and can contribute to the development of health concerns across the rest of the body, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease can typically be caused by poor oral care routines, skipping dental appointments, advanced age, chronic illness, or genetics.
Common symptoms of gum disease include tooth and mouth pain, loose teeth, receding gums, swollen gums, bleeding while brushing and flossing, bad breath, a change in the way your teeth fit together. If you suspect you may have this condition, a periodontal consultation with a dental professional will be the best way to assess your symptoms and have your gum disease questions answered.
How to Clear Up Gum Disease
For patients who have periodontal disease, it's likely a toothbrush and floss won't reach the affected areas. You'll need expert help. Our Greenville dentists have highly specialized tools that can reach deeper to gently access the deep pockets of the gums. One of our hygienists will use these instruments to smooth out rough root surfaces and physically remove infection-causing debris. A round of antibiotics might also be in order.
It's important to note that even after professional treatment, you are still at risk. It's nearly impossible to eliminate all the bacteria in one appointment, and all those deep pockets can still collect more plaque. You'll need to stay on a routine of regular maintenance with your dentist to keep gum disease under control.
What You Can Do From Home
Like other Greenville residents, you probably want to know what you can do to prevent gum disease at home. The most effective methods for fighting gum disease at home are:
- Eating a nutritious diet high in vitamin C
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Keeping blood sugar levels under control, for diabetic patients
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing carefully just below the gum line every day
- Using an antibacterial rinse to keep the bacterial count under control
While there are steps you can take to keep gum disease at bay, you don't have to fight gum disease on your own. Schedule your professional periodontal evaluation at Greenville Family Smiles today.