Gum infection is one of the most prominent and common dental health issues that impacts both Canadian children and adults. Dental health is often one of the most neglected aspects of overall physical health. If left untreated for too long, gum infections in one part of your mouth can spread to the rest of your oral cavity and impact other parts of your body as well.
Advanced gum infections and disease can be extremely uncomfortable and, in some cases, painful. Fortunately, gum disease is easily treatable and avoidable by practicing excellent oral care habits from an early age.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about gum infections including what causes them, symptoms, preventive care and effective treatment options.
What Is a Gum Infection?
Gum infections, also known as gum or periodontal disease, can be caused by a number of factors.
One of the most prevalent causes of gum infection is lack of proper oral care. Good oral care includes brushing your teeth twice a day—once in the morning when you wake up and once in the evening before going to bed—and flossing at least once a day, usually as part of your nighttime routine. Dentists recommend that you floss every night before bed to remove all of the excess food particles that can get stuck between your teeth and on your gum line during the day.
Gum infections are caused by harmful bacteria that live inside your mouth around and under the gums.
Failing to take good care of your mouth health can lead to gum infections. Adding mouthwash to your oral care routine can help kill more harmful bacteria. But make sure to use an alcohol-free variety to avoid eroding your tooth enamel and drying the oral tissues.
Failing to properly clean your teeth leads to excess plaque and bacteria buildup.
How Can You Develop a Gum Infection?
Poor or total lack of oral care is the primary reason that many people develop gum infections. However, in some cases your diet may also be a contributing factor. A lack of foods containing vitamin C leads to beak down of the gums.
To protect your teeth against the damages caused by foods and beverages, you should try cutting back on the unhealthy stuff and make it a point to rinse your mouth out after each meal or snack. This will help loosen and remove a lot of the excess food particles that can get stuck between your teeth and in your gum line during the day before they have a chance to be used by the harmful bacteria.
What are Some Symptoms of Gum Infection?
Whether you have a mild or severe gum infection, there are a variety of different symptoms that you may experience. Here are the most common symptoms that are associated with gum infection:
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Pain while chewing
- Mild or severe tooth sensitivity
- Loose teeth or fallen teeth
- Receding gum line
Gum infections are uncomfortable regardless of which symptoms you’re experiencing or how severe they are. For that reason, you should do everything in your power to cultivate a good preventive oral care routine that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.
Preventive Care for Gum Infections
Gum infection prevention is actually a lot easier than you might think and it all starts with your at-home oral care routine. As mentioned, you should be brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. If possible, you should be flossing between each meal. However, most dentists know that’s a lot to ask of their patients, so they recommend flossing in the evening before going to bed.
To make up for the flossing you’re not doing during the day, you should try rinsing your mouth out after each meal to loosen and remove excess food particles.
Lastly, you should be making regular dental checkup appointments. Visiting your dentist once every 4 to 6 months or more frequently if recommended, for a cleaning or routine checkup can make it easier for them to detect early signs of gum infection or disease. Early detection results in receiving faster and more effective treatment from the get-go. This will also reduce the chances of the infection worsening over time.
With regular checkups and cleanings, your dentist can also make personalized recommendations for your oral health.
How to Treat Gum Infections
There are a number of highly effective gum infection treatment options that your dentist can recommend depending on your needs and personal preferences. Gum infection treatment options include:
- Oil pulling: Oil pulling is a healthy all-natural alternative to mouthwash. Edible oil such as coconut oil is swished around the mouth and then spit out. It’s believed that oil has antimicrobial properties that can also help relieve swollen gums.
- Antibiotics: Depending on the severity of your gum infection, your dentist might either prescribe antibiotic pills or an injection.
- Root planing: This procedure involves performing an extremely deep clean of your gums and teeth that reaches all the way to the root.
- Gingivectomy: This is a surgical procedure during which your dentist will remove the infected gum tissue.
- Saltwater rinse: Saltwater rinse is a natural disinfectant that can help relieve gum inflammation. Rinse your mouth out with salt water twice a day for best results when advised.
- Oral surgery: Most dentists recommend oral surgery as an absolute last resort if the infection is far too advanced for other forms of treatment to be effective.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a possible gum infection, then Dr. Janice Mummery at Princeview Dental Group can provide the right treatment options and preventive care guidelines for your needs. Contact us today to book an appointment.