Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. We get to spend time with family, and we get to eat (too much) great food. We also think this is a good time remind you of a common problem that doesn’t get enough attention — gum disease.
What most of us know this as Black Friday is also National Flossing Day. Take a few minutes to read today’s post, then make yourself a leftover turkey sandwich.
Our dentists have been treating gum disease at all three Beaumont Family Dentistry locations in Lexington, KY, for years. We can use the latest technique to treat and address the effects of gum disease, but we also want to encourage you to do the things you should be doing to prevent gum disease in the first place.
That should include making appointments for routine dental cleanings and examinations.
Why You Still Need To Floss (Among Other Things)
Everyone has bacteria in their mouths. Some of these bacteria are helpful, and other bacteria can cause problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
Every day, these bacteria multiply and grow. The foods that we eat often feed these bacteria as well. This is why the American Dental Association recommends brushing and flossing your teeth every day.
Specifically, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Be sure to scrub your teeth on all sides and your tongue to remove as many bacteria as you can from your mouth.
Flossing (or using another interdental cleaner) is important every day, too. Why? Weren’t there news reports that said flossing doesn’t prevent gum disease?
Technically, the news reported about insufficient studies about flossing’s effect on periodontal disease. Regardless, flossing does remove bits of food that become stuck between your teeth and gums. That alone will make it harder for bacteria to thrive in your mouth.
Preventing Gum Disease
We can reduce our risk of gum disease and other oral health problems by consuming less sugar. That includes the foods that we eat and many things that we drink, too.
Second, follow the ADA guidelines mentioned above. Brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist a few times each year for routine cleanings.
To schedule a cleaning at Beaumont Family Dentistry, you can call or use the online form for the office that is most convenient for you. We have three dentist offices in Lexington — Beaumont Centre Circle, Hamburg, and Leestown.
During your visits, one of our hygienists will give your mouth a professional cleaning. We will remove any plaque or tartar buildup (the result of growing bacteria in your mouth), and we will look for symptoms of gum disease.
Recognizing Gum Disease
Our dental professionals know gum disease when they see it, but many times, you can see the signs on your own. Here’s what you should watch for:
☐ Red or swollen gums
☐ Bleeding gums
☐ Sore or tender gums
☐ Receding gums
☐ Constant bad breath
☐ Pus leaking between your teeth and gums
☐ Teeth that feel loose
Gum disease causes more tooth loss in the United States than any other oral health issue.
Make an appointment at Beaumont Family Dentistry if you notice the symptoms above. The earlier you start treatment, the more likely you are to eliminate the infection.
Gum Disease Treatments
For the sake of this discussion, we are going to focus on periodontitis, which is an advanced form of gum disease.
Part the reason is you can do a lot to treat and even reverse mild gum disease (gingivitis) by, you guessed it, brushing and flossing according to the ADA guidelines. Should your gingivitis develop into periodontitis, here are some things we can do:
► Scaling and root planing — This is a deep cleaning technique to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar from the roots of your teeth.
► Antibiotics — Arestin, an antibiotic gel, may be applied after scaling and root planing to eliminate any remaining harmful bacteria and to reduce the risk of a recurring infection.
► Laser dentistry — This can often save you from needed gum surgery. Dental lasers can evaporate infected gum tissue while sealing and preserving healthy tissue.
► Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique — This is a less invasive way to reposition your gums if they have pulled away from your teeth due to gum recession.
Keep Up The Fight Against Gum Disease
Fighting gum disease is a never-ending battle. Keep brushing, flossing, and visiting Beaumont Family Dentistry for routine cleanings.
Contact us by phone or online to schedule your next appointment if you haven’t already done so.