Although many of us know how to keep our teeth clean and cavity free, we oftentimes forget to take care of our gums. Even if your teeth seem to be healthy, that doesn’t mean your gums aren’t at risk, especially if you have had extensive dental work and implants that require constant maintenance.
There are two different types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, but still causes plenty of discomfort for those who suffer from it. Its primary symptoms include red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible, but that only comes with good hygienic practices.
Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. Plaque that accumulates on your teeth begins to spread underneath your gums, causes inflammation, and eventually leads to degenerated tissue and bone. At this point, your gums separate from your teeth and the space in between becomes infected. This periodontal pocket is measured by your dentist, a reading over 4-5 mm is bad! Now that I’ve scared you, let’s talk about what you can do to keep those gums healthy all the time.
Your dentist probably tells you this all the time, and if you’re like most people, you floss semi-regularly instead. However, flossing at least once a day helps remove plaque buildup, and flossing can remove bits of food and other residues that your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing is effective at any time throughout the day, so get it done whenever you can.
Regular Cleanings may not be Sufficient
By getting regular cleanings—at least every six months—you get to see your dentist more. This gives him or her the opportunity to catch early signs of gum disease and lead you to treatment. Furthermore, professional teeth cleaning is the best way to remove tartar, which is hardened plaque. These cleanings also prevent tartar because they can scrape away any plaque you may miss when you’re flossing or brushing. If you dentist diagnosed active symptoms of gingivitis then supra-gingival (above the gumline) cleaning may not reach the bacteria which lie in the pocket, in that case, you should have scaling and root planning followed by debridement with ozone irrigation.
Brushing Twice Daily will not Cure Active Periodontal Inflammation
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day helps remove residue that becomes trapped between your teeth. Brushing also helps prevent your saliva from becoming too acidic, especially when you’ve eaten sugary or acidic forming foods. Make sure you scrub your tongue with your brush because harmful bacteria can stick to it as well. Your toothbrush or brush heads should be replaced every 3 months.
If you have signs of active periodontitis (bleeding on probing or pain) than you should irrigate below the gumline with Hydrogen Peroxide, a simple inexpensive self-cure. The bacteria that cause gum disease are anaerobic (don’t like oxygen). Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and many essential oils have anti-microbial benefits.
Use an Alkalizing Mouthwash
Consuming too much sugar or acidic substances can wreak havoc on your oral health. Sugar turns to acid once it interacts with the bacteria in your mouth. An acidic mouth kills good bacteria that keeps your oral pH levels balanced while creating a good environment for plaque-causing bacteria. As we already know, too much plaque can worsen symptoms of gum disease. So, using an alkalizing mouthwash helps balance your mouth’s pH levels, leaving you at less risk. You can also use alkaline tablets along with mouthwash as an all-day on the go solution for bad breath.