The best dental care includes periodontal care

Your gums are just as essential to your oral health as your teeth and caring for them is key to preventing periodontal disease. February is Gum Disease Awareness month and we have spent the month giving little extra attention to stressing the importance of gum health with all of our patients. Your gums require the same basic daily care as your teeth, yet they are often overlooked—less than half of Canadians say they floss daily and approximately 7 in 10 Canadians will develop gingivitis or gum disease at least once at some point in their lives. In this blog we cover the basics of gum function and care that everyone should know!

What is the function of periodontal gum tissue?
Gums are soft tissue that surround and form a protective seal around the teeth to hold them in place and protect them as well as the underlying bone structure. Without gums, none of us would have teeth as they would have nothing to anchor to our mouths. Oral health depends on keeping gums healthy and clean.

Why you should never skip flossing
When you skip flossing, you’re missing over 30% of the surfaces of the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach—the sides of each tooth and just beneath the gum line—the favourite places for plaque bacteria to hide and accumulate. When plaque bacteria is left to rest on your teeth (ie: when you forget to brush or floss), it reproduces, spreads, and hardens into scale tartar which can no longer be removed by brushing your teeth. Tartar irritates the gums and can lead to gingivitis or early periodontal disease.

Gum care assessment during your regular cleaning and checkups
Your oral hygienist not only cleans your teeth, but is also a gum care expert! An important part of their role is to assess your gum tissue for signs of recession (pulling away from the teeth), gingivitis and periodontal disease. They will also gently remove tartar from the areas between each tooth and along the gum lines—all the places the toothbrush misses. If you are flossing regularly, this job will be quick and easy. They will know if you’ve been flossing! If you have gum disease and require periodontal therapy and deep gum cleaning, your oral hygienist will also perform that.

Learn what healthy gums look like
To take the best care of your gums, get in the habit of looking at them daily and make this a part of your daily oral health care routine. That way, you will notice as soon as any signs of gingivitis or early gum disease appear. Healthy gums will be firm and pink without any redness, swelling. They won’t bleed when you floss, and won’t be sore or sensitive.

Look out for any of the following signs that you should see your dental hygienist:
– redness
– swelling or puffy
– bleeding
– sore or sensitive, painful chewing
– pulling away from the teeth
– loose teeth
– changes in your bite or the fit of your dentures
– bad breath or persisting bad taste

Gingivitis and gum disease
Any of the above signs may be associated with early gingivitis, which is reversible if caught early before it progresses into periodontal disease, which is more severe and difficult to treat. For information on how to manage bleeding gums and more about general gum health, read our blog What To Do About Bleeding Gums: Gingivitis, Oral Hygiene, and Gum Health

Gum Disease Awareness Month at NEESH Dental Clinic
Gum disease prevention starts with brushing and flossing daily to manage tartar scale development. It’s also essential to visit your dentist for a cleaning and exam regularly. Book yours now, here. Ask your gum care experts, aka your oral hygienist, about periodontal care at your next appointment!

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