If you've been noticing blood on your toothbrush or may have noticed some residue when you flush into the sink, you may be worried and considering an emergency visit to the dentist. You may well be good at brushing your teeth a couple of times a day as your parents told you, but something seems to be wrong. Could this be periodontal disease? What does this involve and why are you at risk?
People develop periodontitis when the amount of plaque that is in the mouth is not properly regulated. Plaque is a "sticky" material that is largely invisible to the eye. It forms in and around your teeth whenever the starches and sugars from your diet come into contact with the bacteria that normally lives in your mouth. It's unfortunate that brushing by itself is not necessarily going to control this issue. It may initially get rid of the plaque, but it reforms quickly. Unless you're very careful with your brushing regimen, plaque that is left over can get underneath your gum line and become tartar.
If you don't visit your dental hygienist regularly plaque can accumulate and will then turn into gingivitis. This can lead to inflammation of the pockets that are in between the gums and teeth. As time goes by this problem will become more critical and can eventually lead to an infection within not only the tissue but also the bone. Most dentists believe that periodontitis is caused by a long-term neglect of oral hygiene, but you may be quite good at brushing your teeth twice a day, every day. What else is going on?
How Drugs May Contribute
If you take prescription or over-the-counter drugs on a daily basis this can exacerbate the condition. The risk involves even the simplest of cold remedies or antihistamines that you might take for allergies. These drugs will impede the ability of the body to produce saliva, which is a natural cleaning mechanism for the teeth. If you're unfortunate enough to need stronger drugs on a regular basis, then in the worst case a condition known as gingival hyperplasia can develop.
Stacking up the Vitamins and Minerals
Are you are eating a proper diet? If you do take in the right amount of vitamins and minerals you can help to keep periodontal disease in its place. Be especially wary of calcium deficiency, or low doses of vitamins C. Both of these in the correct amounts can help to maintain the health of the tissue in between the teeth and gums and can also ward off those free radicals.
Another Reason to Quit Smoking
Unfortunately, if you smoke cigarettes you are at an elevated risk of developing periodontitis. This is because tobacco products contain chemicals and these chemicals affect the environment within your mouth, creating additional bacteria and impeding any other measures you might take to contain the bacteria, such as brushing.
The main thing to remember is that if you are noticing a lot of blood when you clean your teeth, schedule a visit to your dentist as soon as possible.