Do your gums bleed easily, especially when you brush them? How about constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth? These common symptoms are among the warning signs for periodontal disease, which is more commonly called gum disease. Gum disease affects over 64 million Americans, which is about half of all adults over the age of 30. If you’re thinking that you are in the clear because your gums don’t hurt, beware! Gum disease is usually painless, so most people don’t even realize they have it. Luckily, Dr. Gagnon is always on the lookout for plaque, the thin film of bacteria that constantly covers our teeth. He can take care of your gum problems before they land you in a sticky situation.
Common Warning Signs
● Gums that bleed easily
● Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
● Permanent teeth that are loose or separating from the others
● Bad breath or a constant bad flavor in your mouth
● Gums that are swollen, red, or tender
● Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
● Any change in the fit of partial dentures
If you fit any of these descriptions, call Dr. Gagnon today! The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, swelling of the gums. It is usually reversible with a professional cleaning and a regular routine of brushing and flossing. Waiting until your gums hurt can lead to periodontitis, which is leading cause of tooth loss among adults. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that everyone receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE) on a yearly basis. This checkup will examine your gums for any signs of gum disease and identify any treatment that needs to take place. The good news is our hygienist do this at each cleaning appointment. They determine the health of your gums by taking measurements between your gum and tooth. Ideal
measurements are 1 to 3mm. So ask them at your next checkup and find out the health or your gums.
Keeping Gum Disease at Bay
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly is the best way to take care of your teeth and gums. Pay special attention to clean between your teeth after meals to avoid the buildup of plaque and food particles. When brushing your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue and rinse well afterward. This is a great way to clean out bacteria that love to hide in there.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
We could all benefit from eating more fruits, vegetables and healthy fats and proteins – not only for our general health, but also for our oral health. A good balanced diet is just what the doctor ordered. That means you can no longer call a baguette with butter a meal (unless, of course, you serve it with a big kale salad, a sprinkling of nuts and seeds and lots of veggies).
Avoid Sweet Foods
Who does not enjoy an ice cold glass of juice in the morning or a swig of soda to wash down their salty sandwich? These sweet treats can be tempting but be wary of going overboard with sugary drinks. Fruit juices and soft drinks can erode the surfaces of roots exposed in the oral cavity. Avoid these or, at the very least, rinse with water afterwards.
Use a Fluoride Toothpaste
Tooth decay is hard to reverse, but fear not – you can limit it. Studies have proven that individuals who have had a lot of gum recession will have the surfaces of their roots exposed in their mouths. Those surfaces are quite susceptible to decay and hard to restore once decay is present.
One thing you can do to limit decay? Use fluoride toothpaste. You remember fluoride, right? From all those visits to the dentist’s chair? Except when you use it at home, it is not a 30 minute treatment. It just involves some toothpaste and a two-minute meeting with your toothbrush.
Have a Healthy Bedtime Routine
If an oral care routine is already part of your bedtime ritual, you’re headed in the right direction. Dr. Gagnon recommends brushing and flossing before bedtime – as well as staying away from certain foods. Avoid sweet foods in the evening – especially before going to bed – that includes any drink with sugar in it.
Know the Risk
Top risk factors for developing gum disease are:
● Poor oral hygiene (not brushing or flossing as discussed above)
● Smoking or chewing tobacco
● A family history of gum disease
● Crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
● Some medications
Talk you your family doctor or ask Dr. Gagnon if you are concerned that one of your medications may be putting your gums at risk. For questions or concerns, call Care Creek Dental at 208-233-8620