Christmas means lots of things to lots of different people.
For Christians, it’s a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. For people of a wide variety of beliefs, it’s a special time to spend time time with family and friends.
We share gifts to show people they are important to us. But we also swap stories about characters who aren’t in the giving spirit, like the Grinch in Dr. Seuss’s famous Christmas story.
With that in mind, we have to ask how you are showing your gums that you care about them. Almost everyone remembers to brush their teeth, but according to a recent survey, only 40 percent of Americans floss every day.
That means at least six out of every 10 Americans is not flossing like they should. If you are one of those six, then you are being Grinch to your gums, and that could lead to problems with gum disease.
At Atlanta West Dentistry, we would prefer than our patients in and around Marietta take care of their gums, but we are prepared to provide periodontal treatment if it is needed.
Gums need love, too
We hope you are already remembering to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. One of those times, you should be flossing or using another interdental device.
Both brushing and flossing are essential to removing bacteria and plaque from your mouth. Flossing is important because you can’t get between your teeth and gums with your toothbrush, no matter how fancy it may be.
But saying you are flossing and flossing correctly are not always the same thing. To help you, we’ve included information from the American Dental Association about the proper way to floss.
The first step is breaking off 18 inches of dental floss. With all the different varieties (waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored, thick and thin), we are confident that you can find a kind of floss that works for you and your teeth.
You should wind the ends of the floss around your middle fingers. Winding the floss in one direction will help you use a clean section of floss as you work through your mouth.
Hold the floss with your forefingers and thumbs. Rub the floss between each of your teeth, and hug the floss around each side of your teeth to clean underneath your gumline. (And don’t forget to get the back side of your last teeth.)
When you are finished, throw the floss away.
If flossing is problematic for you for some reason, please talk to one of our hygienists or dentists about alternative products you may be able to use.
Gingivitis … and worse
Nearly 80 percent of Americans will experience gum disease during their lives, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association.
In most cases, people experience the gingivitis. This is a milder form of gum disease. People with this condition may have gums that bleed easily or that appear red and swollen. Often, routine care (brushing, flossing, professional dental cleanings) can be enough to treat this type of periodontal disease.
If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis. If you have this type of gum disease, your gums can feel tender or sore, you may have persistent bad breath, and you may even have pus between your teeth and gums.
Bad cases of periodontitis can damage your jawbone and can cause your teeth to feel loose or fall out.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of periodontitis, you need to plan a visit our office as soon as possible. We have a multi-step process to remove the infection from your gums and to prevent further damage to your oral health.
The first step in periodontal treatment is scaling and root planing. With this process, you receive deep cleaning that gets under your gumline to remove plaque and bacteria around the roots of your teeth.
Depending on the specifics of your case, we may give you a medicinal gel to reduce your risk of reinfection.
In the most serious cases, we can use perio laser therapy. The perio laser allows us to pinpoint the infected tissue, which helps you heal faster than you would with surgical periodontal treatment.
Stay healthy and happy
Always remember that your gums need proper care for you to maintain a healthy mouth. Caring for your gums correctly will help you keep smiling for decades to come.