Getting to the Dentist for Gum Health

dental anxiety and gum health.If you’re one of the many people who suffer from dental anxiety, you most likely dread going to the dentist. You might even skip your appointments from time to time. However, one of the most important reasons you should go to the dentist every 6 months is to ensure your gums stay healthy.

The American Dental Association recommends going for regular checkups every 6 months. At every routine dental exam, your dentist and hygienist will assess the state of your dental health. They check for tooth decay and symptoms of TMJ or teeth grinding.

Seeking Treatment for Your Gum Health

Do you feel uneasy when it’s time to go to the dentist? It’s believed that about 9-15% of Americans don’t go to the dentist because of dental anxiety. That’s an estimated 40 million Americans, who aren’t receiving proper dental care.

There are a number of reasons you should seek treatments for your dental anxiety. People with dental anxiety are at a higher risk to suffer from gum disease and tooth loss. 

Sometimes gum disease can develop out of what seems like nowhere, when in actuality, it’s really a symptom of a bigger problem. Detecting changes in your gums could help you treat illnesses in their earliest stages.

At your routine trips to the general dentist, we assess your gum health, and we prevent gum disease by thoroughly scraping and cleaning your gum line.

What your Gums Reveal About Your Health

A comedian once said, “death creeps in through your gums,” which isn’t far from the truth. Studies show that there’s a connection between gum health and a slew of other illnesses.

The gum line often accumulates plaque and tartar that you can’t reach with your toothbrush and floss at home. Not to mention, you should get to the dentist every 6 months, because the state of your gums can be a telltale sign of bigger health issues.

Detecting Oral Cancer Through the Gums

Oral cancer can occur anywhere in your mouth. In it’s earliest form, symptoms show as tissue changes in the mouth. Usually, these changes are easy to see and feel. When dentists screen for oral cancer, we look for early signs called leukoplakia and erythroplakia.

Leukoplakia are white lesions that usually occur on the tongue or gums. Erythroplakia are red lesions. Erythroplakia are much less common than leukoplakic lesions, but they’re more likely to become cancerous. If you or your dentist notice these early warning signs of oral cancer on your gums, you should follow-up with a biopsy.

Some risk factors of oral cancer include:

  • poor diet,
  • sun exposure
  • age,
  • HPV,  
  • tobacco and alcohol usage.

Even if you don’t have any of these precursors, you should go to your dentist for routine exams, so he can check for changes in your gums.

Gum Health and Diabetes

Diabetes may cause harm to many important parts of your body, like your kidneys, heart, eyes, and nerves. Diabetes can also affect your gum health.

Patients with diabetes tend to have a higher risk of gum disease. Not only can diabetes make it harder for your immune system to fight off gum disease, but having gum disease can make it harder to regulate your blood sugar.

Here are a few of reasons diabetics tend to suffer from periodontal disease (gum disease):

Higher levels of glucose. I diabetes is linked to gum disease because bacteria loves sugar, which is basically what  glucose is. Diabetics with poor blood sugar control have more glucose in their mouth, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to nest in.

Changes in blood vessels. patients with uncontrolled diabetes develop thicker blood vessels, making it harder for r  these vessels to deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Thicker blood vessels also make it more difficult for your mouth to receive nutrients, circulation, and get rid of toxins. The lack of nutrients and inability to carry away waste makes the gums more susceptible to infection.

Dry mouth. Diabetics often suffer from dry mouth when their blood sugar is high. Dry mouth can lead to a higher risk of gum disease, because your mouth uses saliva to regulate the bacteria levels in your mouth.

If your dentist notices any escalated changes to your gum health, you should lookout for other warning signs of diabetes and visit your primary care physician. Other warning signs of diabetes include: frequent hunger, dry mouth, increased urination, headaches, fatigue, and blurred vision.

Pay attention to  what you eat and how you feel. You’ll tend to suffer from more spikes and drops in your blood sugar from eating food that is also bad for your dental health. For instance, eating a slice of cake and a cup of coffee for breakfast won’t hold you over until lunch. Cake is also one of the worst foods for your oral health, because germs in your mouth love to feed off of sugar and carbohydrates.

Signs of Gum Disease

A lot of people don’t go to the dentist every 6 months. Instead, they wait to go to the dentist until they feel pain. The problem is that once you feel severe gum pain, there may already be something  terribly wrong.

In between regular check-ups, you should pay close attention to your gum health.  Be vigilant for signs of gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Persistent Bad breath. When there’s a bacterial overgrowth in your mouth, things can get smelly. Lookout for chronic bad breath and get to the dentist.
  • Swollen, inflamed, and red gums. When your gums are overloaded with bacteria, they become red and inflamed as your immune system works to fight the infection.
  • Bleeding gums. If your gums bleed when you floss or eat something hard, then chances are that you have gum disease. Rinse with warm salt water and make an appointment at our Florence, SC office today.
  • Sensitive teeth. When gum disease causes your gums to recede, layers of the teeth are exposed that are sensitive to hot and cold. If you notice any significant changes in your teeth’s sensitivity levels, you could have gingivitis.

Routine Gum Health Checks with Sedation Dentistry

If you’re having a difficult time making it to the dentist every 6 months, because of dental anxiety, consider using sedation dentistry to treat your anxiety. This way, you can feel at ease attending your routine checkups.

These checkups are vital for keeping your teeth and gums in good health. Not to mention, they could help you detect systemic issues early. Contact Advanced Dental Center of Florence today for a free consultation.