You’re brushing your teeth, and you do the old rinse and spit. What’s that red? Is it a little blood?
Unless you are using cinnamon toothpaste, could be a warning sign. Gum disease. Ick. It just sounds bad.
But what is it? What causes it? And most important, how do we prevent it?
Do your gums hurt? Do they bleed every time you brush? Do they look red and swollen?
If yes, let’s pay attention.
The first signs of gum disease are bleeding, swelling and redness. This usually happens when you don’t brush or floss well enough or often. You won’t feel any pain at this early stage. (Note: you can’t “make up” time when it comes to not flossing for months.)
If you notice redness or dark red in the gums around the base of your teeth, you might have gingivitis. Mild gum disease is called gingivitis, and it is pretty common. It’s important to take it seriously and treat it promptly. Other warning signs include swollen or puffy gums, bleeding when you brush or floss, bad breath, sensitive teeth, and receding tender gums.
Schedule Your Appointment, Stat!
The first thing you need to do is to schedule your appointment. This way, we can control the infection, look at what’s affected and begin to treat, starting with a deep cleaning. If necessary, you might be prescribed medication (antiseptic, antibiotic, antimicrobial mouthwash to control bacteria, enzyme suppressant to block specific enzymes from further breaking down gum tissue) to take care of the infection.
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
Here’s the good news, it is preventable. Three easy steps:
- Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing regularly, at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Better yet, brush after every meal or snack! And floss! Floss! Floss!
- Ongoing good health practices. Healthy eating, managing blood sugar, de-stress (so you don’t grind) will go a long, long way.
- Don’t miss your regular dental visits. See your dentist regularly for cleanings. We recommend every six months. If you have risk factors, including dry mouth, you smoke, or you take certain medications – you may need to have a cleaning more often. Because we x-ray your teeth annually, we can see what’s happening under the surface and monitor for changes before they become a problem.
Until the next time!