Your Gums Are Tough, But Not Invincible
Your gums are easy to underestimate. They look soft and wimpy, like a wad of Double Bubble at Fenway. But your gums are much tougher than their color would lead you to believe. Their job? To protect your tooth roots.
But like David Ortiz, despite their awesomeness, your gums still need help from the rest of the team, namely you. If you pay attention with your home dental hygiene, your gums will take care of you. Neglect them at your own peril!
Periodontal disease is the medical term for gum disease, periodontitis if you want to get downright clinical. It involves infection of the gums that can end up with tooth loss and a role as an extra in any Deliverance remake.
Unlike other diseases, that can simply get you, gum disease is 100 percent preventable. But that doesn’t always mean people will step up and do that. It all starts with dental plaque, which is the sticky film that forms on your teeth throughout the day. Plaque has lots of bacteria in it. Dental plaque is easy to remove simply by daily brushing and flossing. In fact, a good home dental hygiene program of brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing once a day is usually enough for most people to never have to deal with gum disease.
Ah, but there lies the rub. If you’re less than a thorough brusher and flosser, and if you throw in lifestyle choices such as smoking, plaque can have its way with your mouth. When plaque isn’t removed it hardens into calculus, also known as tartar. Tartar can only be removed by one or our hygienists or by Dr. Kalil or Dr. Kress.
If you open the door to gingivitis, periodontitis may walk right in with it
One day you won’t wake up and have gum disease. There will be plenty of signs along the way. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums. Irritated gums are not happy gums, and they become red and bleed easily. Plus, the tartar that has formed gradually makes its way below the gumline, leading to more irritation. This irritation is called gingivitis.
You may have been lax, but at this point you can still reverse things with a professional cleaning from our team and more diligent home care. But if you don’t opt for this route, the gum irritation worsens and the gums begin to pull away from the teeth causing pockets to form. These pockets hold all the bacteria from the plaque and that bacteria begin to attack the roots of the teeth. You can see where this is leading — tooth loss and jawbone deterioration.
Now, a trip to see Dr. Kalil or Dr. Kress will be necessary just to keep your teeth. They’ll need to do things such as gum planing and scaling. He may need to prescribe some antibiotics if infection has taken hold. A root canal could be required to save a tooth or teeth.
But this can all be like some scene from Scrooge that never comes to fruition. All it takes is good home care, plus seeing us every six months for professional cleanings and exams. Call us for your next appointment, (608) 880-7004.