Your gums lay low, pretending to be pink and weak. Reality is your gums are tough customers. They are the only line of defense protecting the roots of your teeth. If you take good care of your gums, they in turn will take good care of your teeth, and you’ll be happier for that.
What you don’t want is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the medical term for gum disease. It involves infection of the gums that can end up leading to tooth loss, or at best endodontic procedures to save your tooth or teeth.
But gum disease isn’t a natural end result; it’s easy to prevent. Periodontal disease begins 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 if you get lazy at home, skipping brushing here and there and never flossing, problems take hold. Lax home hygiene, along with other factors such a smoking, can allow plaque to 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 a dentist.
First comes gingivitis
The first signs of problems are gum irritation, formally called gingivitis. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums. They become red and bleed easily. Plus, the tartar that has formed gradually makes its way below the gumline, leading to more irritation.
At this point, you can reverse the trend with a professional cleaning 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 for 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 Dr. Morrison will be necessary just to keep your teeth. He’ll perform a root canal or other related procedures just to save your natural tooth or teeth. And to think, it call could have been headed off with just a few minutes of home hygiene every day!
Posted on 02/28/2016 at 12:00:00 AM