Gum Disease:How to keep gums healthy?

Gum Disease and how to keep gums healthy.  We get many local dental questions about gum inflammation, gum problem questions, period surgery questions, and gum disease development information chat.  We will be discussing this topic in this dentist article at DentalChat. We welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is known medically as periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. Here we will be providing some suggestions for treating and preventing gum disease.

 Periodontal Disease 

Periodontal disease has an early stage, known as gingivitis, and a more serious stage called periodontitis. Periodontal disease is usually caused by bacteria in the mouth that infect the tissues around the teeth. Some medical conditions that increase the risk include

-  Smoking


-  Family history of periodontal disease

-  Diabetes

-  Some medications (talk to your doctor or pharmacist)

-  Poor oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash)

-  Inadequate professional teeth cleaning

There are a number of medical problems that commonly occur with gum disease. These conditions are all linked to increased inflammation in the body. Some of these can be checked for at the doctor’s office. The inflammation can be checked with a blood test looking at levels of C-Reactive Protein and interleukin-6. Other medical problems include heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes mellitus (type I or II) and atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the blood vessels).

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of gum disease include any or all of the following

-  Gum swelling and pain

-  Red or bleeding gums after brushing teeth

-  Pain or bleeding when eating hard foods

-  Halitosis (bad breath)

-  Receding gum line – more of the tooth is exposed

-  Pockets between the gums and the teeth

-  Loose teeth

Your dentist and hygienist do regular dental exam to keep track of how your oral health is.  They generally will measure the gum pockets by the teeth.

 Measuring Gum Pockets Inside The Mouth

People with sometimes fairly large pocket sizes, sometimes do not experience pain. That is, these gum pocket conditions sometimes may not have any associated pain. The lack of pain doesn’t mean that gum disease isn’t a serious condition. Your dentist or hygienist will do measurements to measure the.Gum pockets.  Dentists and dental hygienists can use a periodontal probe to measure the gum pockets. – a very small thin ruler – to measure the size of the pockets between the gums and teeth. Larger pockets indicate the gum disease is worse. 

Gum pocket size does make a difference

Gum pockets 3mm or less.  Less than 3mm / Gum pockets this size can generally be cleaned at home with careful brushing technique ensuring the bristles of the toothbrush get in and clean out the pocket.

3mm – 6mm gum pocket size.   Gum pockets within the 3-6 mm size can usually be cleaned out during a regular dental visit by the hygienist or dentist, with hand tools.

7mm pocket size or larger.  7 mm or Larger gum pockets signal more serious gum disease.  Large gum pockets will most likely require surgical intervention. Failure to treat pockets of this size may result in tooth loss in the future.

Gum Disease Treatment 

Treatment for gum disease is based around prevention, as Ben Franklin is quoted as saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Brushing regularly (at least twice per day) to remove bacteria and buildup on the teeth is the most important thing you can do. In addition to brushing the teeth, you should be sure to brush at the gum line to keep bacteria from building up between the gums and the teeth.

Flossing daily to clean between the teeth is just as important. Setting out individual flossers next to your toothbrush is an excellent visual reminder, and the individual flossers are easy to keep in your car or purse when you’re on the go. An good mouthwash (especially one with chlorhexidine) will help remove any bacteria that escaped the brush and floss. These three things can easily be part of your daily routine. In addition, twice annual dental visits should be performed.

A professional teeth cleaning as part of your dentist visit is extremely important. The dentist can also monitor your gum health and give advice for keeping them healthy.

If gum disease has progressed and is causing pain and other symptoms you and your dentist may need to take further action. In addition to regular cleaning, your dentist may recommend a procedure such as Root Surface Instrumentation (RSI) or Root Planing to remove plaque and buildup under the gum line. A follow-up visit a few weeks later is needed to check the healing progress.

Periodontal Surgery 

Other treatments in extreme cases include surgery or medications. Periodontal Surgery is used to gain access to plaque buildups (calculus) that can’t be cleaned by any other method. This may involve removal of bone, removal of soft tissues, debridement and bone grafts. These options are very invasive but studies have shown excellent results in halting tooth and bone loss.

Some medications (like antibiotics) can be given directly atthe site of gum disease rather than an IV or oral dosing. Delivering the medications directly at the site has been shown in studies to be very effective. This article we did Gum Disease Blog, Online Periodontal Blogging about Perio Disease, Gum Treatment Chat about Maintaining Healthy Gums and Good Oral Hygiene Information - we want our readers suggestions on what dental topics they want us to discuss more.

In summary, gum disease can progress rapidly if not treated.  Best thing is to go to your local dentist / local dental office - to get the best treatment plan based on the persons periodontal condition. Gum disease can affect anyone. With certain people having medical problems that can make the gum disease worse. Your best defense is to have a strong daily hygiene habit that includes brushing, flossing and mouthwash. Visit your dentist for a professional cleaning twice a year and make sure your dentist or hygienist measures any gum pockets. 

This way can track your periodontal disease.  Periodontal gum disease can be treated more easily in the early stages. Be sure to work with your doctor to treat any diseases you have that makes gum disease worse (like diabetes, smoking and HIV/AIDS).  We have many great Dentist Blogs on DentalChat - Here is an dental article about periodontists  

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