Imagine a house that looked fine at first glance but its foundation was failing. It’s probably not a house anyone would want to live in, right? Well, nearly half of Americans are living with some form of gum disease — a bacterial infection that progressively weakens the foundation of your smile!
Left untreated, gum disease can wreak all sorts of havoc on your smile, from gum recession to tooth loss. But here’s some good news: At Carmichael Dental Care, we offer non-surgical gum disease treatments that are tough on infection but gentle for our patients!
February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, so the team at Carmichael Dental Care in Montgomery, AL wanted to take some time to debunk some common misconceptions about this dental complication. Read on to learn more. Then, give us a call at 334-600-1423 to see how we can help you improve your gum health!
Myth #1: My Teeth Look Healthy, So I Probably Don’t Have Gum Disease.
It’s entirely possible to have gum disease without having cavities — even though both gum disease and tooth decay stem from bacterial buildup. When food debris isn’t adequately removed from your teeth and gumline, it becomes a smorgasbord for all kinds of nasty bacteria. The bacterial buildup takes the form of plaque, and the bacteria emit a weak acid. This acid weakens tooth enamel (which drives tooth decay), but it also irritates your gums.
As your immune system responds to the presence of harmful bacteria along your gumline, your gums may swell, redden, and become tender. This inflammation is called gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease.
The best way to prevent gum disease? With proper dental hygiene — the same habits that help prevent cavities! Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can help keep bacterial buildup to a minimum. It’s also important to regularly visit your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. These appointments every six months allow your dentist and hygienist to check for the earliest signs of gum disease and remove any plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that your day-to-day brushing and flossing couldn’t remove.
Myth #2: If I Have Gum Disease, I Will Eventually Lose My Teeth
This myth is rooted in truth. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, gum disease is the No. 1 cause of tooth loss among adults. But that doesn’t mean that you will necessarily lose your teeth if you’re diagnosed with gum disease.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it progresses into an aggressive form of gum disease called periodontitis. At this stage, gum recession is common. This is when your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth, sometimes leaving the roots of your teeth exposed. Without gum tissue to protect them from bacteria, the roots of your teeth become susceptible to decay and infection — things that can lead to tooth loss.
The key to keeping your natural teeth healthy is intervening early after it’s determined that you have gum disease.
At Carmichael Dental Care, we offer deep cleaning treatments that eradicate infection when you need something more than a routine cleaning. One common procedure for gum disease is called scaling and root planing, which involves thoroughly cleaning the area along and below your gumline and then smoothing the roots of your teeth to discourage future bacterial buildup.
We use gentle ultrasonic cleaners, which allow us to more effectively clear your gumline of bacteria.
Myth #3: Flossing Doesn’t Preventing Gum Disease.
A couple years ago, there was a lot of news coverage given to a series of controlled studies that found there was only “very unreliable” evidence that flossing reduces plaque. But the American Dental Association has responded to these reports, defending their long-time recommendation that flossing once a day has oral health benefits.
The organization admitted that it’s difficult to accurately study the efficacy of flossing because it depends on 1) on the flosser’s ability to do it with proper technique and 2) lots of people aren’t truthful about how often they floss. But, they said, that doesn’t mean you should stop flossing. Cleaning between your teeth has proven to have some positive outcomes for your dental health, which is while we still recommend it.
Let’s Work Together Toward Improved Gum Health
When caring for your gums, it’s important to have experts in your corner looking out for the signs of infection and cheering you on toward improved oral health. If you’re looking for high-quality dental care in Montgomery, AL, consider partnering with Carmichael Dental Care!
We want our patients to enjoy smiles that look great and feel great, so ultimately, they can go on and live fuller lives.