As I explained in an earlier post, gingivitis is the inflammation of your gums due to bacteria in plaque and tartar. Remember tartar is the hardened material caused by the mineralization of plaque left on your teeth for too long.

Treating gingivitis takes two approaches. The first is a professional dental cleaning completed by your dentist or dental hygienist. The second is your home care.

A professional dental cleaning's goal is to remove the hardened tartar above your gums and irrigate the bacteria off your teeth. Usually, the tartar can be removed with either special hand instruments or an ultrasonic cleaner that uses sound and water to shake the tartar off your teeth with little or no sensitivity. The water irrigates the pieces of tartar and bacteria off your teeth and underneath the gums. With the plaque and tartar removed from your teeth, you are now able to completely clean the teeth surfaces with good home care, ie. flossing and brushing.

Remember, a professional cleaning is also important to serve as a periodic check by a dental professional to make sure your home care is sufficient and that there are no other health issues developing. Did you know that many patients first discover they need to see a physician for diseases such as diabetes and hypertension after their visit to the dentist? Many diseases manifest symptoms in your mouth and a trained dental professional can recommend a physician's referral based on these findings.

The second and equally important treatment for gingivitis is good home care. During your cleaning visit, our team at Avalon Dental will spend as much time as needed to instruct you on how to maintain your home care. Usually, it is recommended to brush twice a day and floss once a day, but your dental professional will instruct you on not only frequency but certain problem areas you may have and need to pay special attention to. With proper home care, you will notice the symptoms of gingivitis (bleeding upon flossing and red swollen gums) gradually improve.

It is important to make sure see your dentist regularly to help make sure you have good oral health, but it is equally important to take proper care of your teeth and gums at home. For treatment of periodontitis, the process and treatment by your dental professional is different. We'll tackle that issue next.

Dental Topics: Prevention Through Education
The field of dentistry has benefitted greatly from the advancements in materials and technologies to help promote good oral health. Yet as a dentist myself, I've seen that my profession has embraced these new technologies at the risk of spending less time promoting "prevention through education." The truth is the healthiest mouths are not the mouths of the wealthiest people, but rather the mouths of educated people. This blog is my effort to educate the public and promote good oral health.