To most people, oral hygiene only means brushing twice a day to keep cavities at bay; but there is a lot more to ideal oral health care than just that. Keeping the teeth clean and plaque free is important, yes, but it is essential to remember that it is the soft tissues that are actually holding the teeth in their places. Compromised gum health and lack of proper care/treatment can eventually lead to mobility and even early loss of teeth.
The most common gum related diseases include gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is characterized by reddish, swollen, tender and often bleeding gums. Periodontitis is a condition that occurs when gingivitis is left untreated; it is characterized by highly inflamed, painful, tender, frequently bleeding, red gums, formation of inter-dental pockets (or spaces in the gums between and around the teeth), halitosis (unpleasant, foul odor/bad breath), gum recession, exposure of the root portion of the teeth and generalized mobility. One of the leading causes of both diseases is improper oral hygiene, as well as negligence towards gum care.
Plaque is a soft material that is comprised of saliva, bacteria and food debris. It forms a fine, white layer that deposits on all surfaces of teeth. When allowed to accumulate over a prolonged duration of time in the absence of adequate oral hygiene, this layer hardens to form calculus. Calculus is most commonly seen on the lingual surfaces of the teeth, or the portions of the teeth that face the tongue. Calculus is highly irritant to the gums and forces the surrounding soft tissues to recede as it continues to accumulate further. Gum recession exposes the root portion of the teeth, thus causing mobility and if left untreated, can cause all affected teeth to fall out of their sockets.
Calculus generally accumulates in areas that are rather difficult to clean with a toothbrush. This is why experts advise dental cleaning, also known as scaling, to patients who are unable to maintain ideal oral hygiene themselves. Scaling is a dental procedure during which food debris, plaque, tartar and calculus are removed from around the teeth and even beneath the gums. This ensures ideal health of the gums and prevents periodontal diseases from developing in the mouth.
Get in touch with the team at Jeanne Taylor DDS today to learn more about gum care and maintaining excellent oral hygiene!