Have You Flossed Your Teeth Today?

Young girl smilingOf course, everyone knows that brushing and flossing your teeth daily are the most important ways to take care of our oral hygiene. Regular dental checkups are equally important. If you don’t take care of your teeth, they won’t continue to take care of you for long either.

When you brush, you are removing plaque and bacteria from the above-the-gum surfaces of your teeth , as well as food particles that the bacteria feeds on. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste makes it even more effective, but to do the best for your teeth, you really need to be flossing. Yes, we know you have heard this before.

Flossing stimulates the gum tissue, increasing blood flow, but most importantly, flossing removes the plaque and bacteria from below the gum line. While it may be easy to forget about, that bacteria is what is responsible for gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. This happens because the bacteria produces waste materials that irritate your gum tissue, causing inflammation. This inflammation, if left unchecked, can eventually cause bleeding of the gums, indicating the condition called gingivitis.

Treatment of Gingivitis

The good news is that if you develop gingivitis, it can be reversed with the right oral hygiene treatments. The treatment for gingivitis involves teeth cleaning (sometimes a deep cleaning known as root planing and scaling is indicated) and sometimes the use of a prescription mouthwash containing chlorhexidine gluconate, a powerful antibacterial. You will also need to be fastidious in your oral hygiene routine to allow your gums to heal and avoid recurrence. Your dentist will instruct you in the best course of action for your particular case.

If gingivitis goes untreated, it can develop into the more serious condition of periodontitis. This disease is the most common cause of tooth loss for adults in the US.

Periodontitis

If you do develop periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease, your hygienist will note the existence of “pockets” in your gum line. This is caused by a pulling away of the gum tissue from the tooth, due to irritation caused by tartar buildup. This provides a perfect environment for bacterial growth, making the situation even worse. But, all is not lost. With proper care and early diagnosis, we can sometimes halt the progression of the disease and occasionally even reverse the damage done. Scaling and root planing procedures get down below the gum line, remove tartar and plaque, and sometimes cause re-attachment of the affected gum tissue. You will most likely require more frequent cleanings and checkups from that point forward, but this is a small price to pay for holding on to your natural teeth.

If you have any questions about gingivitis and periodontal disease, call us at (843) 357-2122(843) 357-2122 and schedule an appointment today! Your continued oral health is our business!

 

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