Your gum health is just as important as the health of your teeth. Your gums support your teeth. If your gums are unhealthy, your teeth may become loose, leading to pain and potentially even tooth loss. Here are four gum health tips that can help you prevent and treat periodontal disease.
1. Brush your gums regularly.
Dentists recommend that people brush their teeth at least twice every day, in the morning and at night. When you brush your teeth, you should brush your gums as well. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid gum erosion and irritation. As you brush your teeth, spend some time massaging your gums lightly with the bristles of your toothbrush. Turn the head of your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle so the bristles can clean away bacteria and food debris trapped under your gum line.
2. See your dentist bi-annually.
When you see your dentist, they will perform a dental checkup and professionally clean your teeth. During your cleaning, your dental hygienist will carefully remove tartar buildup from your teeth in a process called scaling. Scaling may cause some minor bleeding, but it's important for the prevention of periodontal disease and cavities.
During your checkup, your dentist will also check on your gum health. They will examine your gums visually first. Healthy gums are pink and vibrant. Gums that are beginning to succumb to periodontal disease may be red or swollen. They may also be white and pale. Your dentist may also check your gum depth to look for signs of gum loss.
3. Complete recommended periodontal treatment.
The early stages of periodontal disease can be managed with home treatment and careful monitoring. In some cases, it's possible to reverse periodontal disease with proper home care. However, your dentist may recommend professional treatment. For example, additional scaling procedures can help reverse periodontal disease.
If your dentist feels you need more aggressive treatment, they may refer you to a periodontist. Periodontists specialize in preventing and treating periodontal disease. For example, they can perform a root planing procedure to remove plaque and pockets of bacteria from beneath your gums. Root planing is done using local anesthesia, so you won't feel pain during your treatment.
4. Don't be afraid of surgery.
Your periodontist may recommend flap surgery, a procedure commonly used to fully remove bacteria from beneath the surface of your gums. After administering local anesthesia, your periodontist will make small cuts in your gums, which will allow them to lift the tissue to clean underneath. Flap surgery can be performed on an inpatient basis, and it's very effective at treating periodontal disease.
Don't delay seeing a periodontist: your gum health is important.