When you think about conditions that are detrimental to your health, you probably think of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, or degenerative diseases. What you probably don’t think about is gum disease. The problem is those who gum disease (and almost 75% of all adults do!) are far more likely to experience all of the other potentially deadly health conditions. The good news is that gum disease is preventable, and the Dental Care of Boca Raton team members want you to be well-informed and well-armed to combat it.
Bacteria and other microscopic organisms in our mouths interact with the food we eat and leave a sticky, almost invisible substance known as plaque on our teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed by brushing and flossing, it can calcify and harden from the minerals in our saliva into a hard substance called calculus or tartar, which can then only be removed during a professional cleaning. When plaque and tartar collect on your teeth, your gums can become inflamed. During this early stage of gum disease (known as gingivitis), your gums may be tender and bleed when you brush or floss.
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and form pockets that eventually become infected. At this point, the bone and connective tissue that holds your teeth in place break down, potentially resulting in bone and tooth loss.
If you’ve already reached the gingivitis stage of gum disease, professional treatment can still help. To avoid gingivitis, take the following steps:
- Brush at least twice a day (and after every meal, if possible). This simple step will minimize the amount of plaque that accumulates on your teeth.
- Floss! There’s no getting around this. You must floss at least once a day to remove the bacteria that collects between teeth. Brushing and dental irrigators cannot do the job.
- Visit your dentist as recommended! People with healthy teeth and gums can get by with semi-annual visits, but if you’re at risk for gum disease, your dentist may want to see you with more frequency.
If you’re experiencing gum tenderness or bleeding, contact us to schedule an examination. We proudly treat patients in Boca Raton, Florida, and the surrounding areas.