Brushing, flossing, rinsing, and regular dental checkups–we’ve been told to make sure not to skip any of these in our fight against cavities and gum disease. We all know what a cavity is. It happens when food left on the teeth causes acid to eat away at the enamel and cause a rotten area of the tooth. But what exactly is gum disease?
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. Many people might not even know they have gingivitis. Gums are red instead of pink. Gums may be swollen and bleed when the teeth are brushed. Gingivitis is usually caused by poor dental hygiene. If you’re not brushing properly or long enough or flossing regularly you will probably experience gingivitis at some time in your life. Food left on the teeth causes plaque to build up. Plaque contains bacteria that cause gingivitis by releasing a toxin that irritates the gums. During your regular dental visits Dr. Matthews can use a procedure called “scaling” to scrape away plaque. Your regular at home dental regime should include brushing twice daily and flossing to remove plaque.
Having receding gums is another condition of the gums that you need to pay attention to. Many people might not notice this happening as it is a gradual condition. If you have receding gums it means the gum tissue surrounding your teeth has worn away or has pulled back from the tooth exposing the root of the tooth. There are several factors that cause receding gums. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that destroys gum tissue and is the leading cause of receding gums. Genetic disposition to gum disease affects 30% of the population no matter how diligent you are with your dental care. Aggressive brushing can erode the tooth enamel and cause receding gums. Inadequate dental care can cause a buildup of plaque and tarter between the teeth and around the gum line causing receding gums. And hormonal changes in women can make gums more sensitive and vulnerable to receding gums.
Repairing the receding gums depends on the cause. If your gums have receded severely, a graft from another area of the body applied to the affect gum line might be your only option. For the gums that have not gotten to this point, Dr. Matthews or hygienist may opt to clean the area around the tooth and put a material on the tooth that will stop any further receding. If the cause is aggressive brushing, consider switching to a softer brush. Improve your oral hygiene regime and brush twice daily and floss. Remember to visit your Dr. Matthews regularly to keep ahead of any of these potential problems.