Gum Disease Prevention
As New York City endodontists, we see a lot of not only tooth problems, but gum problems as well. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is not something that people regularly think about. You may never have thought about it at all! But it affects nearly 50% of the population. Many people have a mild form of the disease and may not even realize it. So it recommend to brush your teeth because quality brushing is focused on the gum disease prevention. A small percentage have a more serious condition and require professional care.
So what exactly is gum disease, and what is the cause?
In a word, bacteria causes gum disease. Have you ever gone a couple of days without brushing your teeth and noticed a yellowish paste that forms on them? This material accumulates and it can look like debris from food. But it is actually a layer of many, many bacteria. You can see it pretty easily on your teeth, but you may not see it on your gums – however, it is there. Some of this bacteria is harmful. While it’s there, it munches away at the very food that you are eating but then excretes enzymes and toxins. These excretions fall into that tiny “ditch” between your tooth and your gum.
Combine these excretions with the perfect environment for the bacteria to grow, and more food coming in regularly, and you have plaque. Bacteria thrive in the plaque environment. So when you brush infrequently or do not brush thoroughly, this bacteria and plaque accumulates. Your body senses the excretions or toxins present there, and so then it goes to the defense of the area by creating new tiny blood vessels that will fight the infection. This is why gums experiencing this condition will appear swollen and red. Interestingly, these obstinate bacteria attack the new blood vessels as well, making the fragile blood vessels begin to bleed. Now you’re in trouble. Gum disease is in place. It is also called gingivitis, is easily corrected with a thorough cleaning followed by ongoing good cleaning every day.
Gum disease does not hurt. It is typically painless. However, it can be more aggressive in some people than in others. Some people need to clean their teeth more aggressively than others as a result. Most dentists and endodontists recommend brushing thoroughly twice per day for gum disease prevention. It is easy to neglect brushing when you’re in a hurry, or tired and just want to go to bed. But gum disease is a big reason why brushing is so necessary. When you are brushing your teeth, you are trying to achieve the best result. So we recommend that you slow down and take the time to reach in the back of your mouth, all around your molars, inside all the teeth, not just across the front. Brush thoroughly in the back of your mouth where wisdom teeth are or were.
Note that if tartar, or plaque, has built up on your teeth, this deposit will not be removable by brushing alone. And if you brush extremely hard, you can damage your gums. If you have tartar buildup, you should see your dentist to have it removed with a special instrument. Gum disease prevention is to brushing on a regular basis. Believe it or not, toothpaste does not play as important a role as you might think. In our next article we will discuss brushing and flossing techniques as well as some information about toothpaste. In the meantime, keep brushing and keep gum disease away.