Gum disease can become a big problem for people as they grow older. Luckily, it doesn’t just happen by accident, and if you know a little about what causes it, you’ll be better able to avoid it in the long run.
As unpleasant as it may be to think about, our mouths aren’t the cleanest places in the world. As food is eaten, the remnants left on teeth form a sticky substance known as plaque, which is full of bacteria. If you brush your teeth and flush regularly, most of this plaque is removed. (A quick word of caution about brushing: be gentle with your gums when you brush, because overly vigorous brushing can actually contribute to gum disease over time!) However, if you aren’t regular with your brushing and flossing, the plaque collects near the gum line and hardens into tartar, the next step on the road to gum disease. If your teeth are crooked or crowded, it may be too difficult to remove the plaque the way you should, and the tartar can develop in hard to reach places despite your best efforts. Regular dental cleanings are very important to remove any tartar that has built up for whatever reason, since brushing and flossing alone can’t take care of it.
If tartar is not dealt with, over a period of time the gums may actually pull away from the teeth. This movement creates a space called a periodontal pocket, which is seriously bad news. The extra room is a ready-made home for more plaque and tartar, which then becomes even more difficult to get rid of. At this point, if left untreated, your gums will become red and swollen, the telltale early signs of gum disease, also known as gingivitis. As gingivitis progresses, you can eventually suffer bone loss in your jaw. This, in turn, makes your teeth wobbly because they don’t have the support that they need to stay solidly in place. Eventually, they can even fall out, a fate no one wants.
Bethlehem Orthodontics plays a special role in the prevention of gingivitis. Remember how crooked or crowded teeth can make the plaque and tartar difficult to get rid of? Orthodontics, which is a special branch of dentistry, can fix this problem. By straightening the teeth out and ensuring that they are spaced properly, brushing and flossing become more effective at removing plaque. This can be achieved through braces, retainers, and other corrective appliances according to each person’s individual need. If you have hard time fitting floss in between your teeth, you are probably a good candidate for orthodontics. Fortunately, healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so there is no reason not to seek orthodontic treatment just because you’re an adult. In fact, about 1 in 4 orthodontic patients today are adults.
Dr. Jason Hartman and the Team at Bethlehem Orthodontics are pleased to provide you with this helpful information and to offer you the finest state-of-the-art orthodontic care for you and your family. For more information, please visit our website or contact our office.
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