October: National Dental Hygiene Month
If you have been told you have periodontal (gum) disease, youâ??re not alone. Many adults in the U.S. currently have some form of the disease. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.
Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day, from this point forward.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless â??plaqueâ?? on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form â??tartarâ?? that brushing doesnâ??t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called â??gingivitis.â?? In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to â??periodontitisâ?? (which means â??inflammation around the toothâ??). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called â??pocketsâ??) that become infected. The bodyâ??s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the bodyâ??s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
Toothbrush: Soft Bristles/Replace when frayed
Inbetween Teeth: One per day, floss or other object
Tongue: Toothbrush or tongue scraper
Rinse: Fluoride/gingivitis/breath freshener
Chew: Sugar-Less gum after meal/drink (xylitol)
See your dental professional regularly