Thanksgiving is coming soon, and we know what’s next — National Flossing Day, which is the day after Thanksgiving every year. This is a great reminder of what you should be doing to prevent gum disease.
It’s also a good time to learn or refresh your memory about the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease. At Highlands Ranch Smiles, our dentists want to help you prevent gum disease, and our staff is prepared to provide periodontal treatment when needed.
Routine cleanings and examinations will help keep gum infections from developing or getting out of control, too.
Bleeding Gums And Other Signs Of Gum Disease
Unfortunately, less than half of people clean between their teeth daily, even though that is what the American Dental Association recommends.
When you only floss occasionally, you may notice that your gums bleed each time you do floss. This is a sign that you are in the early stage of gum disease. This is called gingivitis.
Other symptoms of gingivitis include red and swollen gums. (For the record, healthy gums look pink and feel firm.)
Many patients can reverse the progress of their gingivitis by flossing a regular part of their daily oral hygiene.
If the bleeding continues or gets worse, you may already have periodontitis. This is the advanced form of gum disease. What’s important for you to know right now are the symptoms of this kind of gum disease.
You should contact Highlands Ranch Smiles as soon as possible if you notice one or more of the following symptoms:
◼︎ Gums that bleed easily (more often than when you brush or floss)
◼︎ Gums that feel tender or sore
◼︎ Gums that are receding or separating from your teeth
◼︎ Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away
◼︎ Pus leaking from your gums
◼︎ Teeth that feel loose
All of these symptoms are things you should be able to notice. However, the last one is the reason you should be concerned about gum disease.
Many people are not aware that periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. In the late stages of an infection, the bacteria can attach the bone that holds your teeth in place. This along with your receding gumline can leave your teeth barely hanging on.
Our dental professionals want to keep you smiling. That includes helping you keep your teeth intact.
Gum Disease Treatment
We mentioned earlier that flossing or using another interdental device can reverse the progress or help prevent gingivitis. Brushing your teeth removes a lot of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing is not effective at cleaning the spaces between your teeth and gums, however.
When used correctly, dental floss, interdental brushes, flossers, and water flossers help remove plaque and food particles from the spaces your toothbrush can’t reach.
For people with periodontitis, you will need professional help to remove that infection from your mouth. This is something we are happy to do for all our patients at Highlands Ranch Smiles.
Here are some of the ways we can help:
► Scaling and root planing — This deep cleaning procedure removes bacteria, plaque, and tartar that has built up on the roots of your teeth.
► Laser dentistry — This isn’t science fiction. Dental lasers allow us to “zap” infected gum tissue without performing surgery. The lasers also seal your gum tissue, which means more of your healthy tissue is saved.
► Arestin — This is an antibiotic gel that is used as a follow-up to other treatments. The antibiotics can kill any lingering bacteria and reduce your risk of a recurring infection.
► Perio Protect — With this, you wear a special mouthguard you can wear for a few minutes each day. This delivers preventive medicine directly to your gums.
► Prescription mouthwash — This is another follow-up treatment to help prevent the infection from returning.
In severe cases of gum recession, we can refer you to a trusted periodontist. We want your mouth to be healthy and your smile to continue looking its best.
Keep Up The Fight Against Gum Disease
The bacteria that cause gum disease live in your mouth. Daily brushing and flossing will remove many of these bacteria to help keep them under control. Nevertheless, the dentists and staff at Highlands Ranch Smiles will always be here to help and support you.