It’s been a long day. You worked a full shift, then went out for dinner and drinks with your friends. All you want to do is sleep. You change into pajamas and go into the bathroom to brush your teeth.
You feel a slight pang of guilt as you think about the floss in the cabinet, but you’re just too tired. So you go to bed unaware that an army of bacteria has now invaded your gums.
Okay, so that’s a little dramatic. Skipping one night of flossing after an evening out in Houston, TX won’t immediately give you gum disease. But how often are you too tired to floss? How often do you forget? Do you own any floss?
It may not seem like a big deal, but not flossing can cause serious problems. At Houston Uptown Dentists, we’re equipped to treat them, but we much prefer prevention. Read on to see what can really happen if you don’t floss.
Don’t Assume Brushing Is Enough
What’s the harm in forgetting floss if you’re brushing thoroughly? Well, the bristles in your toothbrush can’t get in between your teeth and your gumline, where plaque likes to collect.
Plaque is a sticky film on your teeth that is chock-full of bacteria. These bacteria and their acidic secretions irritate your gums, which is why they end up inflamed.
Inflammation is how your body fights infection. Blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow, leaving your gums red and slightly swollen. The problem is that inflammation is meant to be temporary. Since your gums will stay infected without treatment, the inflammation persists.
Prevent Gum Disease From Getting Worse
This first stage of gum disease, when your gums are red and swollen – possibly even bleeding – is called gingivitis. At this point, the plaque on your teeth has likely hardened into tartar, but there’s no serious damage yet. Although you can’t remove tartar with brushing and flossing, one of our hygienists can with special tools here in our office.
If you think you have gingivitis, call us for an exam and cleaning. We’ll clean the tartar right out and polish your teeth until they’re too slippery for bacteria to hold on to. If you follow this up with consistent flossing, brushing, and rinsing, you should be good to go!
If you have gingivitis and you don’t call us, your gum disease could progress to periodontitis. At this stage you will find your gums lifting away from your teeth, forming small pockets full of toxins and bacteria.
When you have pockets full of poison in your gums, the stakes get higher. The toxins and acids in these pockets work to erode your tooth enamel and eventually your jawbone, which anchors your teeth in your mouth. Gum disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults.
Still too tired to floss?
Treat Gum Disease By Visiting Houston Uptown Dentists
We’ve portrayed a pretty scary hypothetical, but what if advanced gum disease is a reality for you? Then you’ve come to the right place! We offer several treatment options based on what your gums need.
If your periodontitis is in its early stages, we offer a variety of nonsurgical treatments:
- Dental lasers to remove infected tissue.
- Scaling to remove plaque and tartar from above and below your gumline.
- Root planing to smooth out the roots of your teeth so bacteria can’t stick to them.
- A take-home antibacterial treatment called Perio Protect®.
Even if your gums have receded, don’t worry! We have two surgical options to treat you:
- Gum grafting is the traditional method of treating receded gums. During this procedure, we take a bit of tissue and place it where your gums should be. After some time to heal, your gums will look and feel as good as new. Maybe even better!
- The Chao Pinhole Surgical® Technique is an innovative new method that requires dentists to undergo specific training in order to practice it. Dr. Juarez has received this training, which takes mere days to heal and uses no scalpels or stitches.
Have Us Treat Your Gum Disease, Then Work With Us To Prevent It
Maintaining gum health after treatment or to prevent it requires the same thing:
- Brush your teeth twice a day. A good length of time is two minutes; spend 30 seconds covering the surface of each tooth in the four quadrants of your mouth.
- Floss at least once a day. By now you know how important this step is.
- Rinse twice a day with an alcohol-free antiseptic rinse. This is a good way to be sure you’ve hit every nook and cranny.
- See Houston Uptown Dentists every six months for a dental exam and cleaning. Call us to schedule them at 832-463-1021 or contact us online.