Did you ever walk into a dentist’s office with the feeling that you’ve got us fooled? You know that we’re going to give you a hard time about flossing your teeth, so this time you flossed for 3 straight days so you’ll be nice and clean and we can’t possibly give you the business…
Well, I hate to break it to you – we know you did that too!
You see, we’re not checking to see how clean your gums are, or if there is food and plaque in between your teeth. We’re looking for the signs of inflammation that happen as a result of the food and plaque that might normally be hanging around. We’re also looking for tarter, a hard substance that fuses to your teeth like barnacles, which can’t be flossed off in a matter of a few days or weeks. Even the best flossers build some tarter, but a large amount of tarter buildup is a result of not cleaning between your teeth on a regular basis.
What happens when food, plaque and tarter are hanging around your teeth and gums? These things harbor and feed bacteria, which is the real cause of the problem. If bacteria are allowed to sit on your gums, especially between your teeth, for any length of time it begins to cause an immune response. This response leads to red, puffy and bleeding gums. This is called gingivitis. If gingivitis is allowed to persist it can lead to another condition called periodontitis, which is also known as gum disease.
This is when your gums become so irritated that they actually begin to separate from your teeth, and your jaw bone can actually dissolve. Unlike gingivitis, this is not a reversible problem, so you never want to allow your gingivitis to progress to periodontitis. That means year-round flossing!
Think of it this way: Bleeding gums mean unhealthy gums. This is essentially a bacterial infection in an open wound. You wouldn’t let a cut on your arm fester, right? Gingivitis will not heal overnight and we see the signs in our office even if you have turned over a new leaf for the last few days, or even weeks.
DO NOT fear that you are causing a problem if you see blood when you brush or floss. This is usually an indication that you are not brushing and flossing regularly enough. If you become diligent and consistent you should notice a reduction in discomfort and bleeding within a few weeks and a happy hygienist at your next visit!
This article may lead to more questions than answers, so don’t be afraid to visit the office with questions or concerns at any time!
CrossKeys Dental is located at 110 CrossKeys Office Park in Fairport. Dr. DuPre՛ and Dr. Badali provide comprehensive family dentistry and are always welcoming new patients. Visit us at www.CrossKeysDentalFairport.com for more information.
© 2018 CrossKeys Dental in Fairport, NY by Vince Badali, DDS.