A lot of people aren’t comfortable hearing this, but the human mouth isn’t exactly a clean place.
Everyone has colonies of bacteria in their mouth. That’s normal and natural, and is known as the “oral microbiome.” Most of the time, those different types of bacteria live in balance and don’t cause any problems. But certain types of bacteria combine with saliva to form a thin, sticky film called dental plaque.
Plaque is a major cause of problems in the mouth. Here’s why.
That Nasty Plaque
Bacteria usually get washed off teeth and gums by saliva and the beverages we drink. Once plaque forms, bacteria are help in close contact. Those bacteria eat the sugars in our foods and begin to secrete acid, which inflames the gums and begins to eat away at the enamel covering our teeth.
Plaque is easily removed by regular brushing and flossing. Mouths are complicated places, though, and it’s easy to miss one or more little areas where plaque forms. And, plaque begins to re-reform with 24 hours after being removed. That’s why it’s a bad idea to skip brushing or flossing.
Enter Gum Disease
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you notice blood on your toothbrush or in the sink after brushing, you may have gingivitis. The same is true if any area on your gums becomes swollen, changes from pink to a darker red, or bleeds. You may experience bad breath that keeps coming back, and your gums may feel tender.
In its early stages, gum disease is easily treatable. Generally, twice-daily brushing and flossing, plus regular dental cleanings, are enough to remove all traces of plaque above the gumline.
Plaque doesn’t always remain above the gum line, though. Left alone, plaque hardens into dental calculus, or tartar. Tartar is even harder than the enamel covering your teeth. It can’t be removed by brushing and flossing. Tartar can form below the gumline as well, and that’s when things get really serious.
The more serious stage of gum disease is called periodontitis, and it requires professional help. Periodontitis can create pockets below the gum line that trap bacteria. Weakened bones and teeth, tooth loss, and even serious general health problems can result.
Get Safe and Effective Gum Disease Treatment at 1st in Smiles
At our Plano, TX dental practice, Dr. Barfield and our staff are skilled at recognizing and treating gum disease in all its stages. We’ll provide the thorough, gentle, and expert treatment you need to get your gums “back in the pink,” so to speak. With our advanced technology, including intraoral cameras and digital X-rays, we can often detect gum disease before the symptoms are bothersome.
When your gums are healthy, your mouth is happy. Take the best possible care of your mouth by brushing thoroughly and flossing twice a day. Schedule regular dental cleanings and examinations by calling 1st in Smiles in Plano, TX office today at at 972-380-8105 for an appointment or fill out our online appointment form.