Poor dental hygiene can lead to periodontal gum disease, such as gingivitis. The word periodontal means “around the tooth” and that is where gum disease occurs. Gum disease is the result of a bacterial infection due to lack of brushing and flossing. When you fail to brush and floss regularly, plaque builds up on the exposed areas of the tooth. Plaque is made up of bacteria and food particles. If plaque is not removed, it turns into a hardened deposit at the base of the tooth. This, in turn, irritates the gums, causing the disease. If you have noticed that your gums are sore or bleed when you brush, it is likely a sign of gum disease. Gum disease can lead to infection of the jawbone, mouth sores and other problems. There is no need to panic if you find out you have gum disease. It is a reversible condition that can be corrected by more frequent brushing and dental visits.
It is recommended that you see a dentist twice a year, but if you are suffering from gum disease you may need more frequent visits. Your dentist can decide on a course of action specific to the severity of your gum disease. You’ll also want to make sure you brush and floss regularly. That means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. However, vigorous and extreme flossing and brushing can actually damage the gums. Be sure to floss gently, as not to irritate and inflame the gums. When you first visit the dentist after being diagnosed with gum disease, the dentist will perform a standard cleaning to remove the plaque from your teeth. Bleeding and tenderness of the gums should subside one or two weeks after this initial cleaning, provided you maintain proper oral hygiene on your own. If you keep up with a strict oral hygiene regimen the gum disease will be kept at bay. However, gum disease will recur if you don’t keep up with this strict regimen and regular visits to the dentist.