Going to the dentist and hearing that you have gum disease is likely to raise all sorts of questions for you. One of the primary things you might be thinking about is if there is a way for you to reduce gum disease or get rid of it altogether on your own at home. Below, you’ll find a wealth of information that will help you address your gum disease and make your teeth healthier in the process.
Gum Disease Explained
What exactly does it mean when your dentist tells you that you have gum disease. You might also hear your dentist refer to gum disease as “gingivitis.” In its simplest terms, gum disease refers to the inflammation of the tissues that both surround and support your teeth. You might have seen the signs of gum disease yourself in the form of red and swollen gums or gums that bleed easily when you floss or brush your teeth.
While gingivitis is a very common condition and can be either mild, moderate or severe, it is different than periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is when the bones that are below the gums are either inflamed, infected or both. A person can have both periodontal disease and gum disease. However, gum disease can often be halted or even reversed while periodontal disease is more serious and always needs professional intervention.
Signs of Gum Disease
While your dentist might offer you an official diagnosis of gum disease, it’s likely that you’ve noticed other signs prior to your visit that you didn’t realize were symptoms of gingivitis. In addition to the red and swollen gums that often bleed while you brush and floss as mentioned previously, you also might have noticed an unpleasant taste or mouth odor.
Plus between your teeth and gums as well as white spots or plaque on your teeth are also signs of gum disease. Gums that look like they are pulling away from your teeth or a change in the way that your teeth fit together in your mouth is another sign that you have gum disease. If you wear dentures and notice that they are fitting differently, it’s likely that gum disease is at fault.
In spite of these signs that might seem obvious, it’s possible to have gum disease and not have any noticeable signs or symptoms. This is why it is so vital to your oral health that you schedule regular visits to your dentist and that you keep those appointments. Only with a thorough assessment by a professional dentist can determine if you have gum disease and its severity.
Properly Diagnosing Gum Disease
Your dentist has a number of different methods of diagnosing gum disease. Not only will these help him or her provide you with a proper diagnosis, they will also help determine the severity of your gum disease.
About once a year, your dentist will use a specialized instrument called a periodontal probe to measure the depths of any pockets that might exist around your teeth. Another tool that your dentist will use to determine if you have gum disease is bitewing X-rays. These will provide your dentist will the ability to see if you’ve incurred any bone loss so far.
By taking a close look at your gums, your dentist can determine if they are swollen or bleeding. If you have any teeth that are sensitive around the gum line, your dentist will examine them closely for any signs of gum disease.
Home Remedies for Gum Disease
If you are like many people who want to take charge of your health, then you’ll likely want to know if there are any treatments for gum disease that you can do at home. Fortunately, there are a number of easy and effective treatments that you can undertake at home that can help reduce gum disease.
It’s been proven that the antioxidants in green tea are effective at reducing inflammation throughout the body including in your gums. Using warm salt water or hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse can help kill bacteria. It’s important to not swallow hydrogen peroxide, though if you use it. If you use warm salt water, it can also help reduce inflammation, though it could damage your teeth if used daily. Using a paste made of water and baking soda can help neutralize the acids that are associated with gum disease.
Though there has been little scientific evidence to its effectiveness, some people have noticed an improvement when they started oil pulling. This practice involves using coconut or sesame oil to swish and rinse the mouth and is purported to reduce the bacteria that can lead to gum disease.
Can Toothpaste Fight Gum Disease?
Because the purpose of brushing your teeth is to remove the plaque on your teeth that can eventually cause gum disease, almost any toothpaste will be effective if used consistently. However, some kinds of toothpaste contain ingredients that may help remove plaque more effectively. Silicates and calcium carbonates are abrasive agents that are designed to remove plaque and keep it off your teeth afterward. A toothpaste that has sodium lauryl sulfate, a detergent, is also more effective at removing plaque than one that doesn’t have this ingredient. Agents that are designed to control plaque such as zinc citrate and pyrophosphates help keep plaque from sticking to your teeth even after you’ve brushed it away. Finding a toothpaste that contains any of these ingredients helps improve your oral hygiene and reduce your chances of getting gum disease.
Visiting your dentist is a crucial factor in maintaining your oral health. By working closely with your dentist and seeing the dental team on a regular basis, you can address your gum disease effectively.
Chianese Dental provides preventative dental care for all members of your family. We work closely with you to develop an effective plan of oral care that addresses any issues that might be present. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.