Brushing and flossing your teeth are excellent ways to ensure that your teeth remain strong, cavity-free and as clean as possible. But did you know that flossing and brushing also protect your gums? It’s true! Your gums are sensitive and can often be a gateway to bacteria entering the bloodstream. That’s why when we’re brushing and flossing, we’re not just protecting our teeth, we’re protecting our gums and our whole body, too.
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a dangerous condition that occurs when hazardous bacteria enter the gums through the mouth. This plaque can be removed daily by flossing and brushing; however, plaque still accumulates at the gum line, making it necessary to visit Dr. Morgan one to two times per year for an exam and cleaning.
But how do you know if there’s a problem with your gums? There are several signs and symptoms to look out for when it comes to periodontal disease. By preventing or correcting gum disease, you can often prevent the condition from worsening or, better yet, reverse it entirely in some cases.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
There are several types of gum disease. The first one is known as gingivitis, and while it is less severe than periodontitis, it is still a serious condition that could evolve into periodontitis if left untreated. Here are some symptoms of gingivitis to look out for on your own.
- Red or swollen gum tissue
- Tender gums, or gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Receding gums, which make your teeth appear longer
- Plaque or tartar buildup along the gum line
- All of the above signs of gingivitis
- Pockets forming between the teeth and the gums
- Gum recession or exposed tooth roots
- Shifts in the alignment of your teeth or how they fit when you bite
- Loose teeth or tooth mobility
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Changes to the way your false teeth and partials fit
- Bad taste in the mouth
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must speak to Dr. Morgan to start an appropriate treatment program. Thankfully, there are several options for treating gum disease.
There are several ways to treat gum disease, but regular professional dental cleanings are the essential first step. Cleaning your teeth at home is, of course, imperative in caring for your teeth and gums, but it’s not enough to prevent plaque and tartar buildup along the gum line. This buildup can, in turn, cause tooth decay and, of course, gum disease. If you already have been diagnosed with gum disease, you may need to see Dr. Morgan more often.
Other ways you can treat gum disease include:
Improving your oral hygiene. Because gum disease is often caused by improper or inadequate oral hygiene, you must protect your teeth and gums by caring for your oral health consistently. If you need help with this, speak to Dr. Morgan or his team for a crash course on brushing and flossing techniques. This will help prevent gum disease from developing.
Scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning procedure that not only removes plaque at the gum line, but also smooths the roots of your teeth, which will allow your gum roots to reattach to the teeth. This is usually done for patients with late-stage gingivitis or with periodontitis.
Prescription medication. Dr. Morgan may prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash medication as well as an antibiotic to help reduce inflammation of the gums and control the infection causing your periodontitis.
Surgery. Unfortunately, sometimes surgery is necessary to correct the damage of periodontitis. There are several different types of treatments you can undergo to help repair your gums following a periodontitis diagnosis.
- Flap surgery: Flap surgery lifts the gum tissue and cleans away the tartar and infected tissue beneath the gums.
- Bone grafts: Bone grafts can help replace bone structures that may have degraded due to periodontitis.
- Soft tissue grafts: Soft tissue grafts can help to reinforce gum tissue that deteriorated from periodontitis.
Guided tissue regeneration. Guided tissue regeneration helps to stimulate tissue and bone growth.
Laser therapy. Laser therapy can remove diseased tissue and help prevent damage from worsening, all while promoting healing.
Maintenance and follow-up. Be sure once you receive your initial periodontitis treatment that you monitor the progress with Dr. Morgan. This will ensure your gums are healing well and your oral health is on the right track.
Remember, in most cases, gum disease is preventable with a proper oral hygiene routine. If you are noticing any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, reach out to Dr. Morgan’s office to schedule a consultation today.