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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

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Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


 

Be Nice to Your Gums for the New Year

Gingivitis This time of year everyone has a New Year’s resolution. Lose weight. Exercise more. Call your brother/sister more often. Watch more SpongeBob. Work on your short game.

Dr. Egger has one for you. Be nice to your gums.

That sounds simple enough, but you’d be amazed at the way a large percentage of the population abuses their gums and overall oral health. The end of that road is not pretty — gum disease and falling out teeth.

But it’s such a shame, because virtually all gum disease is preventable. It just takes good oral hygiene at home and regular twice-yearly visits to Dr. Egger for professional cleanings and exams.

Just so you know, it all starts with a fancy term, gingivitis.

What is gingivitis?

Just the word gingivitis sounds ominous, maybe even life threatening. In actuality, gingivitis is nothing more than gum inflammation. The main irritant of the gums is plaque. You know the stuff — it’s the film that forms on the teeth throughout the day consisting of bacteria, bacterial waste products, food residue, and saliva. When you brush and floss your main goal is to remove the plaque. As soon as you do, it starts to rebuild, only to be removed again when you brush. It’s the classic cat and mouse story, ongoing every day. If you get lazy with your oral hygiene the plaque sets up residence and soon moves down beneath the gumline. There it is very irritating to your gums. If allowed to stay, the plaque hardens into tartar, causing more persistent irritation. While the term “irritation” sounds innocent enough, if this irritation is allowed to continue and progress, it leads to gum disease, clinically known as periodontitis.

How do you know?

What are the signs of gingivitis? Gum irritation is easy to spot. Your gums should be pink all over; any bright red patches show irritation. Your gums should also lie flat against the teeth. This is a telltale later sign, as your inflamed gums tend to recede and pull away from the teeth. At this point, your gums will also be prone to bleeding; this shouldn’t happen if you’re using a soft toothbrush. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation. Finally, your breath will reek. Bacteria that are being left to run free by your poor oral hygiene cause your bad breath.

Treating the G-word

Keeping your gums healthy and keeping gingivitis at bay all comes down to home hygiene. But if you lose focus, then it’s up to Dr. Egger to take over. He’ll use these treatments to reverse gingivitis before it progresses to gum disease.

  • Prophylactic cleaning
    The first step is to be diligent about twice-yearly cleanings with our office. This is called prophylactic cleaning. Why twice a year? That generally is the time it takes to start forming tartar and other issues that lead to decay. At these times, not only will we thoroughly clean and get your mouth back to a better condition, but we’ll give you a heads up about the issues before they become worse.
  • Scaling
    If tartar has moved in like that uncle who can’t keep a job and has taken residence under your gumline, Dr. Egger will scrape it off with dental tools. This is called scaling, and depending how much we have to do, we may give you a local anesthesia.
  • Root planing
    An even more involved procedure is root planing, where Dr. Egger removes any tiny grooves or pits from your tooth roots to make it easier for the gums to adhere back down to the teeth. This is done in multiple appointments with local anesthesia.

These procedures are important because we can keep gingivitis from becoming periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease. And you do not want to hear that word.

So be nice to your gums for the New Year, and they’ll be nice to you. Is it time for your next cleaning and exam with Dr. Egger? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.